BRISTOL—St. Joseph’s Prep is making a habit of doing the little things right. The latest example was on display Friday night as the Hawks edged Holy Ghost Prep 3-2 in front of a large an energetic audience at Grundy Arena.
Austin Amato, Connor Burman, and Jimmy Craig all scored for the Hawks, who improved to 3-1 overall and 3-0-0-1 in the Atlantic Prep Athletic Conference. The only blemish on the Hawks’ record is a shootout loss to La Salle and they took a point on that occasion. It has been an impressive start for a young team.
“We’ve got a lot of stuff to improve on,” said Prep coach David Giacomin, “but the one thing you can’t take away from them is the effort. When they start hustling and they get in your face, they create turnovers, they create anxiety for the opposition. That part of the game we’ve done really well.”
Amato and Burman scored off turnovers to give the Hawks a 2-0 first-period lead. Burman, a junior, credits his team’s work ethic for its fast start.
“It’s the hard work,” he said. “It’s the chemistry. “Everybody wants to be here. Everybody wants to win. We’ve just a really good group this year, it’s all coming together.”
Giacomin said Burman played a solid three periods Friday night. “When that kid is moving he sees the ice so well,” he said. “He’s low to the ground, he’s hard to push off the puck. When he puts together three periods like he did tonight, people notice him.”
Evan Mudrick scored a power-play goal for the Firebirds (2-2, 1-2 in the APAC) 3:48 into the second period to make it a one-goal game for a time but Craig answered with his own power-play goal at 14:57.
That goal proved to be the game winner because Michael Roman found the back of the net for the Firebirds 6:37 into the third frame when he beat Hawk netminder Andrew Custer.
Holy Ghost Prep couldn’t come up with the equalizer. But Gump Whiteside, the Firebirds’ coach took an abundance of positives out of the evening.
“I like how our boys responded in the third period,” he said. “It was unfortunate, we kind of had a slow start there, but I really liked how our guts responded. We’re a young team. We’re going to be good. We’re just working through a couple things right now but I really liked how we responded in the third.”
St. Joseph’s Prep sits atop the APAC standings with a 3-0-1 mark (10 points) but the balance among the four schools through the first weeks of the season has been striking to say the least.
“The league has so much parity,” Giacomin said.”Every game is going to be exciting I think this year.”
Whiteside sees things the same way. “It’s great competition every night,” he said. “Great sportsmanship every night. We battle, we compete hard, we want to get that ’W’ but it’s been great.”
St. Joseph’s Prep 2 1 0—3
Holy Ghost Prep 0 1 1—2
First-period goals: Austin Amato (HGP) from Paulo Colavita, 2:13; Connor Burman (SJP) from Jimmy Craig, 15:12
Second-period goals: Evan Mudrick (HGP) from Byron Hartley, 3:48 (pp); Craig (HGP) from MIchael Urbani, 14:03 (pp)
Third-period goal: Michael Roman (HGP) unassisted, 6:37
Shots: St. Joseph’s Prep 19, Holy Ghost Prep 22; Saves: Andrew Custer (SJP) 20, Sean Joyce (HGP) 15