Woburn, Mass. -- Defending Super 8 Champion St. John's Prep is showing no signs of a post-championship letdown. Kristian Hanson's Eagles scored twice in the first period en route to a 5-0 thrashing of Woburn at the O'Brien Rink on Tuesday evening.
"We haven't had the greatest of luck in this building in the past. Our plan tonight was to come in and move our legs early, use our team speed and use it to our advantage," Hanson said.
The Eagles completely dominated the first period, cycling the puck at will and maintaining puck possession for nearly the entire opening 15 minutes. Senior linemates Scott Newton and Anthony Quartieri paced SJP to the 2-0 lead heading to the first intermission. Newton's goal at the 5:16 mark went in after bouncing off a Woburn defender's skate. Quartieri, who assisted on Newton's goal, was the beneficiary of a beautiful give-and-go between the pair almost three minutes later.
"When it's effective early, when you use your speed, start cycling the puck and have great possession, it kind of becomes contagious. Other guys get involved and we just built on it all night," explained Hanson.
Dan Tighe scored from the high slot with 4:04 to play in the 2nd period after a nice play by sophomore left defenseman Paul Edson. Edson made a beautiful pass through the neutral zone to help set up zone entry then pinched in to keep the puck in leading to the score.
Senior captain Seth Murray scored a power play goal at the 13:49 mark to give St. John's a 4-0 lead after two periods. Kyle Lynch and Kyle Hentosh were credited with the assists. Their linemate, senior center Billy Falter, supplied the screen in front.
Mitch Shaheen picked up an insurance tally in the third period with assists going to Quartieri and Josh Cole.
Senior Kyle Martin, generally considered the top goalie in the state, and sophomore Cam Ludwig combined for a 13-save shutout. The Eagles, 2-0 winners over defending Division 1 champ Hingham on Saturday, have yet to allow a goal on the young season.
"Coming in, we knew they were a really talented offensive team. [Evan] McDonald and [Justin] Alves are probably some of the best forwards in the state. We knew we had to slow that line down. We made a conscious effort to know when they were on the ice and play strong defensively against them. We did a pretty good job of limiting their opportunities," said Hanson.
Edson, a late '99, is a big rangy defender who skates fairly well for his size and does a lot of things well in the defensive zone. He's raw, but he is going to be a big time defender down the road. He has a long reach and does a good job keeping opposing forwards to the outside. Murray and sophomore Tim Usalis are both very good high school defensemen, and Division III college coaches should be keeping close tabs on both. Both are good skaters, make smart lead passes and have good gap control. The three aforementioned defensemen, and junior Christian Kukas, make up the top two defensive pairings. Along with Martin in goal, the defense will be the strength to Hanson's squad.
Hentosh, a '98 who played split season for his dad's North Shore Wings team, is one of the most heady hockey players in the state. His hockey IQ and vision are off the charts, but his skating needs to improve in order for him to be considered more than a D3 prospect.
Despite being held scoreless like the rest of the Tanners, Alves showed why he'll be a hotly pursued player by prep teams for next season. A '99 junior, he has a high skill set and is very fast. He competes in all three zones and is all over the puck.