Boston High School: Matt West

LOWELL, Mass. -- On paper, St. John’s Prep’s tussle with old Catholic Conference rival BC High came down to being nothing more than a statement game. Both teams already were set to advance to the crossover round of the Super Eight tournament before Sunday’s final pool play game at the Tsongas Center.

In reality, it turned into just that with Prep making a resounding statement on the ice, skating away with a 6-1 win and beating their Catholic rivals for the third time this season.

“Coming into tonight, we certainly didn’t think tonight would be an easy victory, number three,” Prep head coach Kristian Hanson said. “I think in the first game they outplayed us and we won. We’ve just done a better job of capitalizing, but opportunity-wise it’s been pretty equal.”

Prep also finished pool play with a perfect 3-0 record and will draw Weymouth in Wednesday’s crossover round. Meanwhile, BC High fell to 2-1 on the tournament and will face off against Malden Catholic in the crossover at Merrimack College.

BC High hadn’t surrendered a goal in tournament play, but Prep quickly eviscerated that memory, scoring twice in the first 30 seconds of play and three times during the first 1:37.

However, it was also a balanced Prep attack. Eleven different players made the scoresheet with three players finishing with multipoint games. Senior captain Colin Blackwell (1G, 2A) and freshman sensation Shane Eiserman (1G, 2A) each had three-point games while rangy winger Sam Kurker checked in with a goal and an assist.

Blackwell got the hit parade started with a goal just 10 seconds in and Devin Murray followed up with another marker just 30 seconds later. John Farrow followed one minute later for an instant 3-0 Prep lead.

“I don’t know what happened,” BC High head coach John Flaherty said of his team’s tumultuous start. “That’s my fault though, a coach has to get his team ready to play and that rests on me.”

Eiserman capped the first period offensive explosion on a breakaway with 25.5 seconds remaining.

BC High finally jumped on the board 4:35 into the second with a goal by Terence Durkin.

The third period saw more of the same from Prep with Kurker scoring short-handed off a 3-on-1 break, collecting a rebound from Eiserman's shot and depositing it into the net for a 5-1 lead with 6:33 to play.

Prep rounded out scoring with 4:41 remaining with Derek Palm's tally from Matt West and Tyler Bird.

No. 4 Prep shuts out No. 3 Woburn

February, 15, 2011
WILMINGTON, Mass. -- The official beginning of Super Eight watch-list season started with a bang last night at Ristuccia Memorial Arena, where No. 4 St. John’s Prep soundly defeated No. 3 Woburn, 6-0.

The Eagles (10-5-1) got off to a 1-0 lead in the first period on a breakaway goal for Colin Blackwell (goal, two assists), and pulled away on four second-period goals.

“I think the first period was kind of a 50-50 game,” Blackwell said. “They took it to us, they worked down low pretty well, so we came into the second period just firing on all cylinders, trying to get pucks to the net. Once we got pucks to the net we got some power plays and maintained possession of the puck down low and took the momentum and it swung our way.”

The Prep made a point of crashing the net in the second period, and the results were overwhelming.

Sam Kurker (goal, assist) made it 2-0 just t 1:54 into the frame, punching in his own rebound after taking a backhander from the right circle. John Farrow pushed the lead to 3-0 just 34 seconds later on a back-door feed from Shane Eiserman, and added a second goal at 8:05 from the low slot.

“That was something we talked about between the first and second period, was getting more traffic in front of the net,” Prep head coach Kristian Hanson said. “ I think we were getting some perimeter shots in the first period. We wanted to kind of penetrate that perimeter and get in front and get some traffic. The kids were buzzing and once we got that second goal we built off that.”

Kurker, who missed the Prep’s 4-1 loss at Springfield Cathedral on Saturday with an injury, made an impressive diagonal pass across the slot at 12:27 to set up Eiserman for a power play goal that extended the lead to 5-0.

“I’m disappointed in the result, but not disappointed in the game,” Woburn head coach Jim Duran said. “I thought we played pretty good, just when you make mistakes against really good teams they capitalize on them, and we left too many guys in front of the net.”

Woburn (12-3-1) had good scoring opportunities of its own, but the St. John’s Prep blue liners had an excellent game in front of goaltender Dan Letarte, who robbed the Tanners on several good chances.

“We talked tonight about playing like a Woburn,” Hanson said. “Play like a team like that; that plays with a lot of heart and desire and blocks shots, and that’s what makes them successful. Sometimes I think we get away from that because we think we’re maybe too talented to block shots, and we’re not. You need to do the small things, the simple things, get dirty, and that’s how you’re successful.”

Senior and first-year varsity player Matt West was particularly effective in that area, as he saved two goals when the game was still in doubt by blocking shots on open nets.

“I thought we had a lot of good chances,” said Duran. “I just think (St. John’s Prep) was a little bit quicker, and when we have those chances we have to bury them, and we didn’t do that, and their chances, they buried them.”

No. 1 Xaverian rallies past No. 9 Prep

January, 19, 2011

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.


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.