LOWELL — Pope Francis has relied on speed all season as the Chicopee school has made yet another deep run in the Super 8 hockey tournament.
The 10th-seeded Cardinals, who were playing in their third consecutive elimination game, utilized quick scoring Monday to dispatch No. 3 St. John’s Prep, 5-1, at Tsongas Arena.
With the win, the Cardinals move on to the Super 8 semifinals Wednesday, when they’ll face Hingham.
Pope Francis went to work early, striking on their first two shots.
Just over two minutes into the contest, senior Trevor Crawford hit junior Jon Tavella with a cross-ice pass to spring the speedy forward. Tavella streaked down on the Prep cage, squeezing a shot past Cam Ludwig.
At 5:16 of the first, Crawford was on the receiving end of a great pass, collecting a feed from classmate Brendan Nehmer in the high slot, before wristing one through traffic and past Ludwig.
“My line, they’re great; I’ve got two great kids to work with,” said Tavella, who recorded 4 points.
“Our whole team, we work together, we’re just a great bunch of kids. We just want to win.”
Midway through the second period, the Cardinals again struck in quick succession, finding three goals in less than four minutes.
With 9:28 to go in, junior Makem Demers stood alone in the high slot, the puck on his stick after a dish from classmate Max Cocchi; with a quick wrist shot, the Cardinals went ahead, 3-0.
Tavella netted his second of the contest 2:10 later, converting a solo chance by slipping the puck between Ludwig’s pads. The senior netminder was then lifted in favor of sophomore Noah Dorsey-Sorofman.
However, the change did not keep the Cardinals out of the net, as Nehmer potted the team’s fifth goal on a power play with 5:46 to go in the period.
While the Pope Francis offense exploded, freshman goaltender Ben Zaranek held firm, recording 24 saves. His lone blemish came with 7:06 remaining, when Prep sophomore Brian Carrabes slid the puck past his right pad on a solo chance.
“It always feels like we don’t get many bounces, tonight it felt like we got all the bounces,” said Pope Francis coach Brian Foley.
“They made good shots, they scored some goals tonight. Hopefully they haven’t used them all up.”
BC High 4, Hingham 2 — Something had to give for the BC High hockey team, and junior forward Thomas Kramer knew it.
Kramer failed to capitalize on a penalty shot opportunity with his team trailing, 1-0, in the first period against Hingham senior goaltender Robbie Kornack (25 saves), and he was visibly annoyed.
But in the third period, Kramer bounced back with the game-tying goal at 6:06 and added an empty-net goal with 1:25 left as the Eagles soared to a 4-2 win Monday night at the Tsongas Center.
Second-seeded BC High (18-4-1) advances to Sunday’s Super 8 title game at TD Garden for the first time since 2012 against either Hingham (14-5-6) or Pope Francis (20-4-3), which will meet in the final Super 8 elimination game on Wednesday at the Tsongas Center.
“I knew we were going to come back and were going to win,” said Kramer. “We bounced back and we scored some big goals.
“It’s huge. The school hasn’t been to the finals in a while. This is big.”
Junior forward Will Kenney’s tic-tac-toe power-play goal at 11:05 from seniors Frankie Higgins and Jake Quilty put the Harbormen on top off only three shots in the first period against junior goalie Luke Garrity (11 saves).
Freshman Joseph Kramer, Thomas’s younger brother, did not miss his opportunity to tie the game at 1-1 for the Eagles at 8:51 of the second period.
Hingham took a 2-1 lead 52 seconds into the third period on a power-play goal from junior defenseman Jake Higgins, but following Kramer’s tying goal, sophomore defenseman Mike Adamson gave BC High the lead at 3-2 at 8:41.
“Credit to every one of those guys in that room,” said BC coach John Flaherty. “The bench never gave up. The bench was lively and they have a goal to set and they’re working toward that still.
“This group doesn’t quit. All year long, they haven’t quit.”