By Ben Cormier
DANVERS – If BC High and St. John’s Prep are capable of putting on this kind of show this early in the season, one can only imagine what these two teams will look like with some more field time under their respective belts.
On the other hand, to borrow a phrase that is popular among the league’s coaches across all sports, it was just another day in the Catholic Conference.
The dueling Eagles produced a showdown worthy of a postseason matchup, taking things all the way down to the final minute when Sam Friedman scored with 18 seconds remaining to push BC High past the Prep, 12-11.
The Prep had taken an 11-10 lead on a crazy play where goalie Hayden Brown raced all the way downfield on a man-up situation and fired in an improbable, go-ahead goal from the left wing with under six minutes to go.
It took a few minutes but the Eagles were eventually able to shake it off, tying the game on a goal by Ryan Dowd. That set the stage for the final minute dramatics, and Friedman was able to bury a shot to give his team the victory.
“I had to shift, go left, and run down the alley” Friedman said with a smile. “I saw the shot, I took it, and I was lucky enough it went in.”
Friedman finished with two goals and two assists while A.J. Kucinski and Oskar Djusberg each tallied hat tricks and a helper for BC High (2-0). Owen Rockett paced the Prep with a hat trick of his own and two assists. Ted Sanford added yet another three-goal effort while K.J. Sarni chipped in with two goals and two assists.
“When you get into a battle like that, you really see how the kids need to come out, and they really pour it out,” praised first-year BC High coach Steve Lydon. “[It was] an absolutely unbelievable game… a ton of fun.”
BC High produced a major comeback in the third quarter, getting single goals from Kucinski and Dowd and two from Djusberg to erase an 8-4 deficit and tie the game. Sarni put a quick end to the run, scoring twice to put the Prep back in front, 10-8, heading into the fourth quarter but the Eagles rallied again as Friedman and Kucinski each scored within 90 seconds of one another in the fourth to tie the game again.
Terrific defensive play left the Prep with a mere 2-1 lead after the first, getting goals from Tim Tyrrell and Rockett around a BC High tally by Steve Timmins. The two teams traded goals back and forth to open the second before the Prep made a push, keyed by by a pair of goals from Sanford.
“This was [Sanford’s] first start at attack for us,” Prep coach John Roy said. “It was great to see him score.”
Art Churchwell also scored in the second as SJP took a two-goal lead into the break an added scores from Sanford and Hayden Rockett in the third to push its lead to 8-4 before BC High began its comeback.
“It just brings the team closer,” Kucinski said of the victory. “It’s one of those wins that everyone will remember and carry over to the next game for motivation.”