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Year in School: SeniorWhat type of skates, stick and helmet do you use?: I use 1X skates by Bauer and have always worn Vapor and felt comfortable wearing them since I was a little kid. Right now I am using the Bauer 1N stick. In my eyes, it’s the easiest to flex and has the best feel out of any of the sticks I’ve tried. I don’t have the hardest shot, so I use a big open curve to compliment my passing. For helmet, I use the Bauer ReAct. The whole team wears this helmet and it’s honestly just the best looking one on the market.

There is so much hockey history at St. John’s Prep. What does it mean to you to wear the Eagles’ sweater?: It’s one of the most rewarding honors that I have. Knowing that players like Colin Blackwell, Brian Pinho and Sam Kurker wore the same sweater as me is very humbling; not many kids can say they play at a school that has so much success around its name. Going into my freshman year, I had no idea if I would ever play hockey at St. John’s. Coach (John) Zimini was one of the first guys to really believe in my abilities as a player, and I knew that if I worked hard I would have a spot on the team. Whenever I put on the sweater, I realize that the countless hours of hard work over the summer and through the fall really paid off.

What do you make of the Olympic hockey so far?: After hearing that NHL players would not be allowed to play in the Olympics this year, I definitely was uninterested in the men’s hockey team. Luckily, John McCarthy, a Prep alum, was picked to play on the team and it has been fun to follow his journey. I have also watched a few of the women’s games, and it’s crazy to see how dominant they are. I’m thinking that they will beat Canada in overtime to win the gold.

Your team has worn five different sweaters this season (home, road, alternative, Pete Frates Game and Derek Hines Game). Which one is your favorite?: The Hines Game jersey, hands down. Going into every season, the special jersey games are a constant talk in the locker room. Before the Hines Game I asked our captain, Ryan Farrow, how they were looking, and he claimed they were the best yet. Every captain who designs the jersey says this, but when I saw this year’s had no words. I think the memories of Mr. Hines speaking to us and the significance behind that game just adds to the aura of the jersey as well.

There are a lot of talented ex players on the coaching staff. Which one still has the best skills?: Coach (Kristian) Hanson has the best skills in practice. I’ve never seen someone find a 5 hole like he does, and I love it when he embarrasses our goalies. He still has some good speed and vision, too, when he fills in during line drills, and he’s one of the few guys that make me nervous when they’re coming down on me with the puck. I think he could lace them up and put up some big numbers without missing a beat.

What’s one thing you’ve never been able to accomplish individual in hockey, but would love to before the season is over?: I would love to score a game winner in the playoffs. I feel like everyone has the dream of scoring the deciding goal in a big game, and I can picture it perfectly. I know I’m not an offensive guy, so a nice shot from the point that deflects in somehow,
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like Brian Groom’s goal in the Super 8 finals back in 2015, would be ideal. Having a moment like that would be a great way to end my career at the Prep.

To someone who has never been in the Eagles’ hockey locker room, can you describe what that’s like?: We’re extremely lucky to have a team locker room to ourselves. Every player has their own locker donated by a Prep alum (The Kurker Family donated mine), and we have a nice custom stick rack where each player is assigned a spot. In the middle of the room we have a large rug with the Prep logo and our Hines Hat lays on it, which is given to the Player of the Game. The school just added some posters on the walls of past players who were drafted into the NHL like Bobby Carpenter and Colin Blackwell, and it’s always humbling to know that they wore the same sweater that I do. I’d say the most special part to our locker room is the dedicated locker to Derek Hines. We were lucky enough to be given Derek’s Army and Prep hockey helmets as well as his gloves and skates, and they sit as a reminder of what we play for every game.

Which of your teammates takes the most pride in the way he dresses away from the rink?: I’m torn I would say Matt Nardone and Tim Usalis take the most pride in how they dress. Matt is the most flashy dresser on the team; you can always find him checking himself out in the mirror. He wears his lucky Louis Vuitton belt on game day and although it’s a bit much, it works for him. Tim is definitely less flashy and doesn’t just take pride in how he dresses, but how the whole team dresses. He makes sure everyone has a tie on at school and sets the rules on what to wear. I got Uggs for Christmas, which I thought were fine to wear on game days. But Tim made it clear that I should never wear them again.

Do you have any hockey related superstitions?: I have a lot of superstitions on game days. I always wear the same shirt, tie and khakis and drive the same back road to the rink. When I warm up, I have the same playlist of strictly classic rock songs blaring, and I always listen to ‘Baba O’Riley’ by The Who before I put my headphones away. When I tape my stick, I stick the old tape on the glass of the rink until I’m finished, and I put all my gear on in the same order starting with the left side always. Before we step on the ice, Tim, Dave Sacco, Joe Bevere and I all do a quick handshake, and I’m the third to last guy out of the locker room.

Give us a good bus ride story from a trip either to or home from an away game: The best bus ride story came after a road win earlier in the season. After every away game, we always blare a bluetooth speaker in the back of the bus and sing along to some music. Everyone knows that (assistant) coach Dave Hennessey is a big Ed Sheeran fan, so we decided to play some of his music. Although he fought it off at first, we got some head and fist bumps from him and I was laughing the rest of the way home.

What food can’t you live without?: Pasta. Back when I was in elementary school, the highlight of my week would be going to my grandma’s house to eat spaghetti and meatballs. I have pasta at least five times a week, and I’m always searching for it in the school cafeteria.

In your opinion, who’s the best athlete at St. John’s Prep?: Mike Yarin. Mike plays quarterback for the football team, and made the baseball team as a freshman. He’s just one of those guys that is naturally gifted and he could easily play basketball at the Prep, too. I love watching him play football and try to replicate his heart on the ice.

Lastly, it looks like St. John’s Prep has locked up a Super 8 playoff berth. What do you guys need to do to win the whole thing?: I think all we have to do is keep playing how we are. Throughout this season, we’ve been trying to find our identity as a team. I think after the Hines Game, everyone is really fitting into their roles and we’re coming together as one. Our offense has been very productive and we’re creating a lot more quality chances. We have the talent and speed to beat any team in the state,
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and the minute we step on the ice at Tsongas (in Lowell) it will come down to heart and keeping our composure in a big game. I feel like this team has been building to this moment for two years now . and this is our time to win it.