By Rick Woelfel
BRISTOL— St. Joseph’s Prep climbed off the canvas Friday night. Down 2-0 at the start of the third period, the Hawks scored twice to force overtime before prevailing over Holy Ghost Prep 3-2 in a shootout at Grundy Arena in an Atlantic Prep Athletic Conference game.
Austin Amato, the first player to shoot in the best-of-three shootout, was the only player to find the back of the net, by beating Firerbird netminder Sean Joyce low on the stick side.
But he and his mates worked hard to get to that point.
The first period belonged to Holy Ghost Prep. Jack Kelly and Andrew Serafin scored goals to give the Firebirds (4-6, 0-5 in the APAC) a 2-0 lead.
There was no scoring in the middle period but the Firebirds to had the upper hand before getting a big opportunity just after the buzzer when the Hawks’ Jared Schaal drew a double minor plus a misconduct, allowing the Firebirds to start the third period with a four-minute power play on fresh ice. But the hosts couldn’t capitalize and the momentum shifted after Schaal left the penalty box.
Nicholas Corrado scored a power-play goal off a goal-mouth scramble at the 5:08 mark before Owen Moke tied the game at 11:02 to draw the Hawks (4-4, 2-2 APAC) even.
“It seems this is the way we’ve been playing,” said St. Joseph’s Prep coach David Giacomin. “We win won, we lose one. We come back and play two terrible periods or one terrible period and then all of a sudden find the fire and start being aggressive.”
The Firebirds’ inability to capitalize on their four-minute power play started their downhill slide. “That really hurt us,” said Holy Ghost Prep coach Gump Whiteside. “We get that ice cut and that fresh sheet of ice and then come out their with that four-minute power play and couldn’t generate some offense. “They shut us down there. I don’t think we played with enough speed and enough momentum.”
St. Joseph’s Prep dominated the five-minute NHL-style three-on-three overtime period. Joyce made four big saves to send the game to the shootout. “He’s rock solid back there,” Whiteside said.
Hawk goaltender Dan McGill was impenetrable in the extra period, stopping shots from Thomas McNulty, Serafin, and Colin Costello while Joyce denied Schaal and Evan Cassidy.
McGill noted that the Hawks had renewed energy when they took the ice in the third period. “We came back out with a great mindset,” he said. We were looking for the win.
The Hawks outshot the Firebirds 36-24, but the margin was 32-14 over the last two periods and overtime.
St. Joseph’s Prep 0 0 2 0—2*
Holy Ghost Prep 2 0 0—2
First-period goals: Jack Kelly (HGP) from Colin Costello, 7:43; Andrew Serafin (HGP) unassisted, 12:46.
Third-period goals: Nicholas Corrado (SJP) unassisted, 5:08 (pp); Owen Moke (HGP) from Michael Urbani and Fran Verratti, 11:02
Shootout goal: Austin Amato (SJP) first round
Shots: St. Joseph’s Prep 36, Holy Ghost Prep 24; Saves; Dan McGill (SJP) 22; Sean Joyce (HGP) 34.