DORCHESTER, Mass. – There was a power surge Wednesday night at UMass-Boston’s Clark Athletic Center and it came from the BC High power play. The unit scored three of the team’s five goals as the Eagles cruised to a 5-2 victory over St. John’s of Shrewsbury.
“We moved the puck well. We try to talk about doing a little more with the puck. We got good shots and some good net presence,” said BC High coach John Flaherty.
The first 10 minutes were scoreless, but BC High scored two power play goals 1:53 apart to break the game open.
Pat Kramer and Steve DeForge quickly moved the puck around the perimeter before finding Sam Topham on the weak side who was able to snap a shot into a wide open net with the defense and goaltending unable to get over in time for the first goal of the game at the 10:01 mark.
“Pat Kramer was carrying it up the wall. I yelled for the chip down low and he cycled it down. I kind of just tried to get it on net. There was a screen in front and it went in,” explained Lemanski.
After a mostly ineffective power play Connor Noonan was able to convert when the puck squirted out from in back of the net. He moved away from the goal slightly before roofing a backhand from in tight. Kayser Raei assisted on the score.
The Eagles weren’t done. Jake Lemanski gave the Eagles a 3-0 lead heading to the locker room for the first intermission when he scored a bad angle goal with 46 seconds to play in the opening period. Raei and Kramer got credited with assists on the goal after the duo did a nice job cycling in back of the net.
St. John’s sophomore Chris Stalmok cut the lead to two when he scored on a turnaround shot 3:45 into the second period, but that would be as close as the Pioneers would get.
Eagles defenseman Billy Roche scored on an end-to-end rush less than three minutes later, cutting in from the left side, skating between two defenders before sweeping it into the back of the net.
“He stayed with the puck, Billy has good hand-eye,” Flaherty said. “He made a nice rush up ice. The puck wasn’t bouncing the way he wanted it to, but he didn’t give up on it. He stayed with it and was able to put it in the net.”
Lemanski added another power play goal in the third period to with assists going to Ryan Shea and Kramer.
“Pat had it on the wall. He looked for the point, but it was covered," Lemanski said. "I just tried to get open in front with my stick on the ice. We preach that a lot in practice. He laid it out there and I just tapped it in."
“He’s a huge contributor for us on and off the score sheet. Jake can really shoot the puck. He fires the puck and has a good knack around the net. He’s playing with a couple really good players. He’s a complimentary player to a degree, but when he gets the puck around the net he can score goals,” said Flaherty.
“We try to get movement all over the ice. We don’t want anyone standing still. We don’t want them to suck us in. We try to move the puck quick and get shots through,” explained Lemanski on the success of the Eagles on the man advantage.
The power play unit is aided by two of the best puck moving defensemen in high school hockey, Topham and Shea.
“It’s a great help to have those guys back there. They have experience and skill. It’s good to be able to do those things and have them handle it and settle it down back there,” explained Flaherty. “Those guys are an asset not only moving the puck up ice, but controlling the puck in the zone,” he added.
Kevin Quinlivan added a late goal for the Pioneers, but the outcome was never in doubt thanks to the Eagles’ terrific power play and some stellar penalty killing led by sophomore goaltender Brandon Payzant.
“You look at the score and what will get lost is the fact that Brandon Payzant played an excellent hockey game,”Flaherty said. “He squared up to pucks and he made some very good saves through traffic. We killed all our penalties and it was mainly because of our goaltending. We ran around a little too much and he bailed us out quite a few times.”
Notes: Boston College head coach Jerry York was one of several college coaches in attendance. Merrimack and Northeastern were also represented in the stands by assistant coaches… BC High is off until next Monday when it faces rival Catholic Memorial at Conte Forum on the campus of Boston College… St. John’s (Shrewsbury) looks to get back on track Saturday at the DCU Center against St. Peter-Marian.