ARLINGTON -- Cam Russo scored twice and dished out an assist as Austin Prep capped off its first undefeated conference season in school history with a 4-3 come from behind victory over Arlington Catholic. Mike Egan scored the game winner with 4:09 to play in the game.
"For us, we made school history tonight. We've won the league in the past, but never won the league undefeated. These kids go in the record book. It's always going to be there for the rest of their life," said Austin Prep head coach Louis Finocchiaro.
Russo put Austin on the board first with a power play tally, but Ryan Spagnoli answered back for AC before the end of the first period. Matt Solviletti and Spagnoli scored in the second period to put the home team up 3-1. Russo drew AP within one before the second intermission with his second power play tally of the night.
AP evened the score early in the third period off a nice transitional goal. Defenseman Mike Disciullo chipped the puck out the right wall to a waiting Russo who brought the puck over the AC blue line. He waited just long enough to draw the defender and goalie before setting up Jake McKennelly right on the stick. McKennelly quickly deposited the puck hight into the mesh before AC goaltender Dylan Morris could slide over.
"His pass was prettier than the goal on the winning goal," explained Finocchiaro. "He held it. The defenseman came completely to him. He just sent it over soft to McKennelly who had a wipe open net to finish it up. He had so much poise and patience with the puck. He did a super job with it."
Egan's power play goal from the slot was the difference in the game as AP killed off an AC penalty kill in the waning minutes of the game.
Freshman goaltender Dylan Regan got off to a rocky start for Finocchiaro's team, but he came on strong in the third period with some nice saves.
"He's been playing really well for us, but he was fighting [the puck] tonight. At the end he made some real nice saves for us. He's won some games for us this year. He's usually pretty cool, calm and collected," commented Finocchiaro.
Finocchiaro seemed to really be basking in the glory of his team's accomplishment, especially considering the opponent in a tough barn, the Ed Burns Arena.
"It's a tough building to come in and play in. I thought [Arlington Catholic] played really well," said the 12th year head coach, a former volunteer assistant at Merrimack College.
An afterthought in many preseason rankings, including SB Nation's, Austin has exceeded the expectations of many. Finocchiaro seemed to be particularly pleased with the play of Russo, his senior captain, who had three points in his last conference game as high schooler.
"He's been so loyal to our program. Not a lot of kids stay in their high school for four years. He has. He's a tremendous kid. He's the captain of our team," said Finocchiaro.
In other Super 8 watch list action, Burlington upended Woburn, 4-2, in a big Middlesex League showdown. The game was a very important contest for both teams with the Red Devils and Tanners both holding Super 8 aspirations.
There were two results that could have very negative impacts on teams on the initial Super 8 watch list. Weymouth, a team that was very much a longshot, played itself right out of contention with a 5-1 loss to Winthrop. Arlington, a loser to Woburn on Wednesday, settled for a 2-2 draw with Triton. Both results should spell the end of contention for each team.
Super 8 Watch List - Thursday Scoreboard
|Bishop Guertin (NH)||1||at||Malden Catholic *||5|
|Woburn *||2||at||Burlington *||4|
|Arlington Catholic *||3||at||Austin Prep *||4|
|Hingham *||7||at||St. John's Shrewsbury||5|
|Catholic Memorial *||1||at||BC High *||1|
|Chelmsford||1||at||Central Catholic *||5|
* Indicates team on watch list
Winning team in bold.
Jeff Cox covers college, junior and high school hockey, NCAA recruiting and NHL Draft prospects. Follow him on Twitter @JeffCoxSports.