St. John's Prep holds off Central Catholic
NORTH ANDOVER -- The final match of the second round in the Super 8 tournament saw a sixth tournament game decided by one goal as St. Johns Prep escaped with a 4-3 win over Central Catholic at Lawler Arena on Wednesday night.
The Raiders, who were blanked, 4-0, by the Prep in a regular-season matchup, got a quick goal from Alex Lester at the 2:48 mark of the first period to gain an early advantage.
The Eagles worked their second power play of the game around the Raiders zone and Sam Kurker unloaded a shot from deep in the slot that was tipped in front by Andrew Brandano to tie the game at 8:15 of the first period.
The Prep then received two boarding penalties, and the Raiders took advantage of the five-on-three situation with Ryan Daigle cashing in on the doorstep to make it 2-1.
The Eagles come out flying in the second period and wrestled the lead away from Central Catholic with two quick goals.
Derek Osbahr scored his second goal of the season at the 2:06 mark to pull the Eagles even and a Kurker (one goal, two assists) power-play goal just a minute and half later gave the Prep a 3-2 lead with less than four minutes expired.
The Prep would maintain their one-goal advantage heading into the third period and had a chance to increase the lead after gaining a power play opportunity two and half minutes in.
In the midst of killing the penalty, Central Catholic forward Michael Kelleher picked off the puck in the Eagles zone, went in, deked David Letarte, and flipped it over his pads for a short-handed goal at 3:45 of the period.
Midway through the third, Brandano (two goals, one assist) broke free up the left side, collected the puck in the neutral zone, then skated in alone down the left wing and deposited his second goal of the game past Williams, putting the Eagles back on top for good, 4-3.
"We didnt quit," said Prep coach Kristian Hanson. "As the year has progressed weve gotten stronger and stronger in the third period.
"Andrew has really emerged this year as one of our go-to guys. People look at him and hes not real big, but hes one of those guys that has a natural ability around the net."