- Scott Barboza, ESPN Staff Writer
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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- According to Ryan Hall, anybody could’ve scored any of his four goals in No. 1 Xaverian’s 6-4 win over Catholic Conference rival St. John’s Prep on Wednesday.
The Hawks’ senior captain took a selfless approach to explaining the reason for his success, while scoring the final two goals in a comeback victory at Foxboro Sports Center.
“It was a lot of [Jason Salvaggio], [Tommy Jenkins] and the defensemen getting the puck down low,” Hall said. “That allowed me to bang home some dirty goals, definitely all the credit to my linemates.”
Xaverian’s top line of Hall, Jenkins and Salvaggio accounted for all but one of the Hawks points (sophomore forward Bobby Hall also tallied an assist). Hall added two assists in a six-point performance, while Jenkins and Salvaggio had four-point efforts with a goal and three assists each.
“They’ve been red hot,” Hawks head coach Dave Spinale said of his top line. “Ryan Hall’s been fabulous and the other two guys are skilled playmakers.
“Ryan’s kind of the power forward, he grinds it out. His game is hit, shoot and pass. And, if he keeps shooting, he’s going to get his share.”
Xaverian (7-0-1, 2-0-0) climbed back from two, two-goal deficits in the second period to tie the score, 4-4, with one minute remaining in the second. Hall completed the comeback with two third-period goals to down the ninth-ranked Eagles (5-3-1, 1-2-0).
Prep carried play in the first period, out-shooting the Hawks, 16-4. However, the Eagles were only able to sneak one past Xaverian goaltender Dave Michaels (24 saves). Matt McDonald had Prep out to a 1-0 lead on a give-and-go set up by Tyler Bird.
The Eagles built a two-goal lead on with Jon Farrow netting a goal on a deflection of defenseman Matt West’s shot from the point.
Xaverian returned fire two minutes later with the first of its three power play goals.
The play started with a terrific save by Michaels, who robbed Derek Palm on a two-on-none chance with a toe save. The Hawks quickly worked the rebound up ice ahead of the Eagles’ backcheck Hall buried his first goal of the night on a glove-side wrister.
“He’s made timely saves all year,” Spinale said of Michaels beauty of a stop, “certainly, that’s been big for us. He does that a lot. That was a two-goal swing for us there.”
The teams then went back and forth for the remainder of the second.
Prep responded on Colin Blackwell’s rebound put back 8:46 into the second. The Hawks again cut the deficit to one on Hall’s second tally on a pretty pass from Salvaggio. Devin Murray put the Eagles ahead 4-2, pulling the puck out of a scrum in front of Michaels and out-working a group of Xaverian defenders.
Salvaggio scored the Hawks’ third goal while falling backwards into the boards, after knocking home Hall’s centering pass in front of Prep goalie David Letarte (24 saves).
Jenkins knotted the game, 4-4, with 54 seconds remaining in the second. He batted home the puck from midair on a play that appeared to be played with a high stick.
Hall completed the comeback in the third period — when the Hawks out shot Prep, 13-3 — with a pair of power play goals.
CLEARING OUT THE CREASE
Spinale had high praise for the Eagles, who he called the “most skilled team” the Hawks have seen all year.
“Off the rush, they’re deadly,” he added.
A lot of those accolades can be attributed to Harvard commit Colin Blackwell. The senior sniper scored Prep’s third goal of the night, banging home a rebound on Joe Currie’s shot.
However, Blackwell was knocked out the game for a portion of the first period after a grizzly looking hit along the attack zone boards. The Eagles captain lay motionless on the ice for couple of tense moments and then skated off under his own power. He missed one shift and returned later just before the first intermission.