MALDEN — The St. John’s Prep lacrosse team got back into the win column Thursday night when the Eagles earned their first Catholic Conference victory of the season, 13-4, over Malden Catholic at Brother Gilbert Stadium.
“It’s great to start off with a win in the Catholic Conference,” Eagles coach John Pynchon said. “Any of these teams can beat each other. That’s always a great feeling. Conference wins can be hard to come by. We came in off a loss to Lincoln-Sudbury and we did a lot of good things today. The scoreboard reflected that.”
The Eagles ran their offense effectively and featured nine different goal scorers. Patrick Keefe led the attack with three goals while Brian Souza and Jake Surette also had impressive games with two goals each. Michael Ott, Sean Gilbert, Patrick Nistl, Daniel DeLaus, Tucker Smith and Luke Surrette each scored one goal.
“I don’t think we shot the ball particularly well,” Pynchon said. “I don’t know exactly how many crossbars and pipes we hit but we hit a lot. Their goalie also had a number of saves. We could have shot the ball a little bit better but the ball movement improved.”
Pynchon was happy to see plenty of players up and down the roster get involved.
“We’re a very deep team and we are confident in everyone on our roster,” Pynchon said. “We love to get everyone involved in the game. Our guys who are maybe lower on the depth chart we are still confident in so we love getting them out there.
“A kid like Brian Souza, who would start almost anywhere in the state but has three great attackmen playing well right now,” Pynchon said. “Brian got in and had a great day. He could do that any day along with Tucker Smith and Pat Nistl in the midfield.”
Craig Yannone (seven faceoff wins) and Graham Tyson (four) controlled the faceoff circle for St. John’s.
The Eagles got off on the right foot when Jake Surette assisted a goal from Keefe to put them ahead less than two minutes into the game. Just over a minute later Surette found the back of the net himself on a nice behind-the-back shot to stretch the lead to 2-0.
Andrew Brendline helped Malden Catholics take advantage of its first offensive possession of the game, ripping a shot that found the back of the net to cut the Eagles lead to 2-1.
St. John’s responded three minutes later with another pair of goals. Ott drove to the net and scored and Gilbert ripped a shot that was initially blocked but rolled paced the Lancers’ goalkeeper after a second bounce.
The Lancers still hung with St. John’s early in the second quarter when Cole Brady assisted a goal from Brett Machado to cut the Eagles lead to 4-2, but that was as close as Malden Catholic would get.
“I give (Malden Catholic coach) Doug Gallant a lot of credit, they put in a zone defense today and we had to adjust,” Pynchon said. “It was a good zone that made us work. That took us a half not to figure out but at least to get comfortable with. It was good that our offense was able to get comfortable playing against a zone and moving the ball.”
The Eagles scored the next eight goals, with Nistl going end to end and ripping a shot that found the back of the net to get the Eagles run started. Keefe added another two goals late in the second quarter to extend the Eagles’ lead to 8-2 before halftime.
St. John’s continued to stay hot in the third quarter with DeLaus and Smith each adding a goal and Souza adding two to put the game out of reach at 12-2. The Lancers made a small run with goals from Joe Casale and Colin Cadigan but Luke Surrette added a late goal for the Eagles to ice the game.
The Eagles (2-1) are back on the field Saturday (11) at Hingham.
“Hingham’s a really strong team,” Pynchon said. “They lost in the Division 1 South finals last year. They’re coaches do a great job and they’re always prepared. It’ll be a tough test but we are looking forward to it.”