FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - Jon Beniers scored twice in the second period as Xaverian broke open a tie game on its way to a blowout over visiting St. John’s (Shrewsbury) in Wednesday’s meeting of teams with Super 8 aspirations at the Foxboro Sports Center.
“This was a critical game because both teams were on the board for a potential Super 8, whether it’s a play-in game or right in,” said Xaverian coach Dave Spinale. “I think it gives us a lot of momentum. Our offense has really been clicking lately and to see it against a real quality club like this was really impressive.”
The Hawks jumped all over the Pioneers early in the first period tallying the first nine shots of the game and establishing a two-goal lead on scores by Tim Sweeney and Trevor McQuade. Sweeney also had a shot cleared off the line and Antonio Marini and Beniers each saw shots ring off the post.
St. John’s managed to turn the game around with a pair of goals in the final 4:05 of the first. Michael Parente’s shot from the point went through a number of bodies in front before finding the top corner and then Chris Adams buried a rebound to tie the game at 2-2.
Xaverian took over the game in the second period. Andrew Durkin got it started with 10:55 remaining as he raced past the defense on a delayed penalty call to give the Hawks back the lead. Five minutes later it was Beniers’ turn.
The sophomore tapped in a goal after a great feed by Marini to make it 4-2 and then that combo worked its magic once again just a little more than a minute later to make it a three-goal cushion.
“After getting the two goal lead and then kind of giving that back, we needed to come back so it was big to get that three-goal lead going into the third,” said Beniers after the game.
He added, “It shows that we can persevere through adversity, you know. We kind of came in and calmed down. Everybody was intense after letting them back into it so just come ourselves down and get back out there and have that big second period.”
“He’s the kind of young man that plays so hard and plays so fast that it really just picks everybody else up. He can create offense because of the speed that he plays at.” said Spinale about Beniers, who started the year as the second line center, but was moved up to the top line early in the season.
In the third period, the Hawks continued to dominate and tacked on extra goals to pad the lead and ensure that there would be no late comeback that might steal the points. Connor McCarthy celebrated his senior night with a pair of goals in the third, Ryan Walsh blasted a rocket of a slap shot from the right face-off circle and senior Dean Adams finished the scoring with a late goal.
“We’ve given up a lot of goals at the end so we wanted win the third period and win the game,” said Spinale. “We didn’t change anything -- we wanted to just keep the pressure up. That’s the key is using our speed and I thought we did a good job of that.”
St. John’s head coach Mike Mead was blunt in his assessment of his team’s performance and took most of the responsibility for how the game went.
He said, “We weren’t ready -- that’s my fault. I needed to get them ready for a playoff game --today was our first playoff game -- and I didn’t have them ready.”
This was the third win in a row for Xaverian, which has high hopes of being included in the Super 8 when the field is announced on Saturday. According to Beniers, wins like this give the team a lot of confidence as it looks towards the tournament.
“The last three games have been really big [to go] into whatever tournament…rolling,” he explained. “You know, we want to get a lot of goals and get everybody going.”