Boston High School: Jim Currier

Recap: No. 8 Prep 4, No. 12 St. John's (S) 4

February, 13, 2014
Feb 13
1:21
AM ET
WILMINGTON, Mass. – After 45 minutes of sizzling hockey, St. John's Prep and St. John's of Shrewsbury skated off the Ristuccia Arena ice nonplussed about a 4-4 tie.

Prep showed chutzpah, battling back against four one-goal deficits to escape with a much-needed point in its quest to make the state tournament.

“I thought for the most part we controlled the time of possession,” Prep coach Kristian Hanson said. “I think we outshot them by a pretty wide margin, but none of that matters. The scoreboard is what matters. In a way in the end you feel fortunate to get a point out of it because I felt we were constantly trailing tonight and the puck wasn't bouncing our way. It's an important point for us; it keeps us in the running.”

The Pioneers broke the ice early when Garrett Lehan scooped up his own rebound and scored 48 seconds into the game. The Pioneers played consistently strong hockey across the board. Despite being outshot 37-19, nine different players reached the score sheet for the Pioneers.

“You hope you can play three lines, you have depth,” SJS coach Michael Mead said. “As long as every line contributes that's a good thing.”

While the Pioneers rolled deep offensively, the Eagles rolled as their first line rolled and the line of Mark Etherington, Jim Currier, and Nick Latham steamrolled. The trio combined for 10 of Prep's 11 points.

Latham shined brightest, scoring a pair of goals and assisting on the other two. His exuberance showed bright after his second, Prep's third, goal when we skated to the Prep student section and climbed the glass to cheer with them.

“I can't make anything happen without my linemates to back me up,” Latham said. “They're awesome. They see the ice so well. You don't even know if they're going to get it to you and it winds up on your stick. We just have pretty good chemistry out there.”

Currier also had a four-point night, with a goal and three assists. Etherington had a pair of assists.

SJS suffered a massive blow in the third period when senior captain Bryan Nelson received a game misconduct penalty for a hit-to-the-head penalty. Prep's Ryan Byrne scored on the ensuing four-minute power play.

“Brian's our captain, he's our leader,” Mead said. “To lose him for the rest of the game it effects you, but the guys bent but didn't break. That's a life lesson for Brian; that's a lesson we learn going towards playoffs. Hopefully it won't happen again.”

PICTURE PERFECT PIZZERI: It's rare for a goalie to give up four goals and still be one of the game's biggest stars, but St. John's (S) goaltender Mario Pizzeri kept the Pioneers' heads above water.

Pizzeri looked spectacular several times, but it was his expert positioning that kept those situations few and far between. The best example of that came in the third period when a Prep defenseman fired a shot from the point that Pizzeri never saw but still went right into his glove.

“Mario kept us in the game,” Mead said. “Mario's been our rock all season long. He keeps us in every game. If he sees the puck he's going to stop it.”

For the bulk of the game Pizzeri kept the puck and did not give up bad rebounds.

“He makes all the first saves,” Latham said. “We capitalized on our rebound goals; that's how we got them in. He's a real good goaltender. He stood on his head.”

THE DASH BEGINS: While neither team picked up two points both picked up a massive point in their run to March. Now sitting 7-8-2 (16 points) the Eagles need four points over their last three games to qualify for the state tournament. That helps lessen the pressure a bit for Prep as it means the Eagles could go pointless for a game and still qualify.

With a new cast of characters leading the way, Hanson said it's a new era with a new team and they'll write their own legacy.

“It's an entirely new group of kids this year from what we've had the past three years so it's their team and their year,” Hanson said. “They've certainly felt the stress frequently, at one point being three games below .500. It's stressful. You don't want to be the team that doesn't make the tournament.

“I feel like our tournament started last week with Austin [Prep] and since then we're 2-0-1. Keep that type of play up.”

For the Pioneers, the tie puts them at 9-4-5 (23 points) with four games to go and keeps them in the running for a spot in the Super 8 tournament. Either way, the Pioneers will play hockey in March, it's just a matter of if its’ in Division 1 or 1A.

“It's important to play well,” Mead said. “Our goal this season was to have more points than last year and we've accomplished that goal. Control what we can control. Super 8, if we can get in is great. If we can't we can't.”

Recap: No. 8 CM 2, No. 9 St. John's Prep 1

January, 12, 2014
Jan 12
1:40
AM ET
WILMINGTON, Mass. – Catholic Memorial and St. John's Prep were both in search of their first marquee win yesterday at Ristuccia Arena.

The Knights got it.

After an entertaining, back-and-forth affair, No. 8 CM escaped with a 2-1 win in the Knights’ Catholic Conference opener.

“We started off pretty slow,” CM's Mike Stathopolous said. “We kind of settled down between the first and second periods and then came into the second doing stuff with the system and kind of got after it.”

Stathopolous had a solid game that culminated when he fed sophomore Paul Hardiman, who buried it in the top corner above the should of Prep goalie Brian Conroy, early in the third to put CM ahead for good.

Before CM (6-1-0, 1-0-0) was able to score the go-ahead goal, it had to stave off the Prep attack that ambushed them in the first period. Prep outshot CM 12-2 in the first period and was able to solve Brandon Collett when Mark Etherington slid behind the CM defense and scored on a pass from Jim Currier with 10 seconds remaining in the period.

“They just jumped all over us, took the play away from us,” CM coach Bill Hanson said. “They won the battles along the wall and we just said settled down. Our goaltender kept us in the game, he was terrific.”

The Knights' offense shook off the bus legs in the second period and flipped the script on Prep. CM outshot the Eagles 10-5 in the second and every offensive line had quality scoring chances. None was better than Bill Czar tipping a shot into the top corner midway through the period to tie the game.

Collett buckled down in net for the Knights and finished the game with 27 saves.

“We had to grind it out and get the win,” Collett said. “That's how it's going to be all year.”

Prep (3-4-1, 0-3-1) had plenty of chances in the third period, the Eagles put 11 shots on goal, but they were unable to tie the game.

St. John's head coach Kristian Hanson gave credit to Collett in goal but also said that his team had to be more direct offensively.

“The guys just have to crash the net more, get some garbage goals, and play dirty,” Hanson said. “When I say dirty I mean go to the net, get in the dirty areas that no one wants to stand in. That's how you score goals. A lot of the stuff we're trying to do is too cute out there. It just doesn't work.”

MR. 600: Saturday's win was a historic one for Bill Hanson as it was his 600th win at the helm of the Knights. After all the years and all the wins, Hanson said he'd lost track.

“I had no idea,” Hanson said. “I knew it would be sometime this year, but I didn't know when.”

Hanson's teams have won 17 Super 8 titles and he's coached more than two dozen NHL draft picks. Even with the victories and accolades, Hanson said he was proud to achieve the goal with this year's Knights.

“The fact that I don't keep track of it tells you a lot,” Hanson said. “It couldn't have been with a greater group of kids too. You saw that game, they're a fun group to watch.”

EMPTY BOX: Catholic Conference rivalries run deep so it was quite a surprise that not a single penalty was called during yesterday's game. Apart from one or two moments in the third period there wasn't even a non-call that angered the fans.

Both coaches gave credit to their teams playing hockey within the rules.

“They let us play, but the kids to their credit, [at] the whistle stopped,” Bill Hanson said. “No one yaps. No high sticks … just real good disciplined teams.”

“I'd rather play every game without penalties,” Kristian Hanson said. “The refs did a good job today. It was a clean game anyways. I think we made their job easy.”

Stathopolous said that it was a pleasant difference to having a flowing game on the ice.

“The refs did a great job letting us play,” Stathopolous said. “There were some things that could have been called, but if you want to play a team you want to play them five-on-five. It was a good game.”

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