DORCHESTER, Mass. – At the halfway point of the season, if any team is primed to knock Malden Catholic off its perch as the three-time Super 8 champions, it is the No. 1 BC High Eagles.
John Flaherty's team proved that again on Wednesday night with a convincing 5-1 victory over No. 5 Xaverian.
"We tied [Xaverian] a few weeks ago,” Flaherty said. “They worked hard and out worked us. We knew we were going to have to put a lot of shots on net in order to have success. The goal coming out was to be aggressive, use our speed and get a lot of pucks to the net.”
One of the region's top uncommitted defenseman got the Eagles on the board first with an absolute rocket from the blue line. Sophomore Ryan Shea one-timed a pass from Sam Topham into the back of the net at the 9:57 mark of the first period.
Recent Merrimack commit Pat Kramer picked up the secondary assist.
"It was a good pass by Sam Topham. It really got the team going," said Shea, a '97, who began to draw serious attention from college recruiters at this summer's various showcase events.
The Eagles headed to the second period still up 1-0 when Flaherty decided to turn up the pressure on Xaverian by implementing a strong forecheck.
"Our forwards are really fast,” Shea said. “Other team's defense have problems breaking the puck out with our forwards. Coach [Flaherty] really hopped on us in the second period and told us to get hard on the forecheck. We started sending two guys in and got a lot of turnovers and pucks on net.”
The result was three BC High strikes in the second period that was completely dominated by the Eagles.
Pat Riley scored one from the dirty area in traffic after he picked up a Topham rebound and lifted it right underneath the crossbar to beat Xaverian goaltender Aidan Murphy.
Midway through the second period BC High extended the lead to 3-0 on a quick goal right off a face-off. Riley drew the puck back to Steve DeForge who quickly threw it on goal. Murphy caught some of the puck, but couldn't corral it before finding the back of the net.
With just 1:07 to go in the second period Aidan Foley blocked a shot at his defensive blue line before going in two-on-one towards the Xaverian goal. He looked off his teammate before sliding a hard shot along the ice that beat Murphy to his five-hole.
"We have guys that can skate,” Flaherty said. “When we skate and use our gift of speed we can be effective on pressuring teams into making mistakes. Our purpose was to get on our skates and move. We wanted to pressure people and get to loose pucks. We did that better in the second period than we did in the first.”
Xaverian's Connor Murphy gave some life to the Hawks just over a minute into the third period when he took advantage of a BC High turnover to snipe one past Brandon Payzant.
Some nice passing by BC High concluded the scoring later in the final period. Ryan Doolin sent a nice pass between two defenders to Foley who roofed one.
BC High (9-0-2) returns to action on Saturday with a showdown against Springfield Cathedral.
Xaverian (6-2-4) also gets back to the ice on Saturday with a matchup against Catholic Conference rival St. John's Prep.