Super 8: Austin Prep starts quickly, hangs on for win over Central Catholic

Austin Prep players and coaches on the bench at the TD Garden in Boston on Sunday, March 2, 2014. - Jeff Cox

Austin Prep sophomore defenseman J.J. Layton was a physical force all game on the Cougars blue line.

BOSTON -- Austin Prep scored two goals in the first three minutes of the hockey game and hung on for a 2-1 victory over Central Catholic in the first game of the Super 8 on Sunday afternoon from TD Garden.

Boston University recruit Bobo Carpenter had a hand in each goal to stake the Cougars to a quick start. The junior blasted a wrist shot into the top corner just 35 seconds into the game as he was skating left to right across the zone.

Just over two minutes later Carpenter's work on the forecheck caused a turnover which landed another puck in the back of the Central Catholic goal. After the turnover, Austin Prep sophomore forward Jake McKenelly jumped on the loose puck and buried it past Raiders goaltender Colin Soucy.

Central Catholic out shot Austin Prep, 33-23, for the game, and had several quality scoring chances. The Cougars averted disaster midway through the second period when defenseman Brendan Leach swatted away a puck that was dangerously close to crossing the goal line.

Austin Prep star junior goaltender Elijah Harris finished the game with 32 saves. The Haverhill, Mass. native is one of the top uncommitted goaltenders in the region, and began to draw serious interest after this tournament last year and his play at several showcases last Summer.

With its goaltender pulled for an extra attacker while on the power play, Central Catholic drew within one goal with just over a minute to play. Lloyd Hayes' initial shot was saved, but the puck bounced up in the air and Christian Thompson batted it in.

Central Catholic had a few chances in the final minute, but could not get the puck past Harris.

The two teams will meet in Game 2 of the best-of-three series at UMass Lowell's Tsongas Center on Thursday night at 8 p.m.

Three Stars

1. J.J. Layton, Sophomore, Defenseman, Austin Prep - The big, bruising blue liner made several bone crunching checks and kept Central to the perimeter. He made good decisions, was smart with the puck and played sound defensive hockey for Louis Finnochiaro's team.

2. Bobo Carpenter, Junior, Forward, Austin Prep - The Boston University recruit made things happen and sparked the Cougars in the opening minutes of the game. He is one of those players that when he goes all out he is hard to stop. He has a rocket of a shot and is strong on the puck.

3. Elijah Harris, Junior, Goaltender, Austin Prep - The Cougars goaltender made several key stops as Central peppered the AP zone looking to rally. He hasn't stood out as much as he did last season, but tonight he was sharp and in control.

Jeff Cox covers college, junior and high school hockey, NCAA recruiting and NHL Draft prospects. Follow him on twitter @JeffCoxSBNation.

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