Going into Sunday, Cam Noyes Umlah knew he was going to play a bigger role for St. John’s Prep. To what degree exactly? It was up to the junior to guess.
Yet, when the lights were at their brightest, the Rye, New Hampshire, native delivered for the Eagles, sniping a pair of goals as St. John’s Prep avenged its only loss of the season with a convincing 6-1 drubbing of Catholic Conference rival BC High.
“BC High came to play,” said St. John’s Prep coach Kristian Hanson. “They pushed hard in the beginning, just like Xaverian did the other night. We kind of withstood that storm, and then we got our legs moving. Once we start getting our legs moving, getting on the forecheck, that’s when good things happen for us.”
For the majority of the season, St. John’s Prep had been slotted as the top team in the MIAA’s Div. 1 power rankings, having just one loss. That defeat just so happened to be from BC High in a 2-1 overtime finish at the Peter Frates Classic on Dec. 28.
Playing in its second tilt under the new coaching trio of Brendan Collier, Sean Vermette and Kelsey O’Brien, BC High (4-6-1) showed some fire in the game’s early stages with a flurry of shots in the opening minutes. However, the tide shifted rapidly when the Eagles were assessed a roughing penalty at the 8:47 mark of the first period. From that point onward, St. John’s Prep (9-1-1) controlled the tempo as Christian Rosa fed a pass to a wide open Cole Blaeser in front of the BC High net. The senior captain proceeded to bury a power play goal to provide his team a 1-0 edge.
Then, just 52 seconds later, lightning would strike a second time for St. John’s Prep, as senior Ben McGilvray sniped a shot to make it a 2-0 contest with 6:32 to play in the first.
The momentum simply carried on into the second period for St. John’s Prep, as McGilvray ripped a shot on net to no avail. However, sometimes it’s just about being in the precise spot at just the right time, as the attempt ricocheted to the feet of Rosa. The junior capitalized on his opportunity, slipping the loose rebound home as the Eagles took a 3-0 lead.
Then, it was Umlah’s time to shine. Prior to his performance Sunday, the junior had one goal to his credit on the year. That would change in short order.
After corralling a loose puck with 4:50 remaining in the stanza, the junior skated around the faceoff circle, then fired a prayer on net. The puck whistled through the legs of a defenseman, and over the outstretched glove of BC High goaltender Adam D’Errico to give St. John’s Prep a 4-1 edge. He would tally another goal just 2:34 later, as the Eagles took a 5-1 advantage into the third.
Johnny Tighe registered a power play goal with 59.9 seconds remaining to seal things for St. John’s Prep.
Jackie Murphy accounted for BC High’s lone goal of the afternoon, burying a shot with 7:43 left in the second period.
“It definitely felt good,” Umlah said afterward. “Kind of a monkey off the back, with one goal coming into it. It definitely felt nice having two goals today, especially against BC High, one of our rivals. We took that 2-1 OT loss personally. So, to have (those) two goals kind of felt good.”