Newburyport resident Shane Eiserman decided to attend St. John's Prep last winter after attending a home hockey game against Malden Catholic.
"The atmosphere for a regular-season game was amazing," Eiserman said. "I knew I wanted to go where the best hockey was."
Eiserman, a freshman at St. John's Prep, can expect even higher stakes tomorrow evening at 6 p.m. when the Eagles (18-5-1) meet top-seed Malden Catholic in the Super 8 final at TD Garden in Boston. It will be St. John's Prep's first Super 8 final appearance in the 20-year history of the tournament.
Eiserman will follow in the footsteps of brothers, Billy and Chris, who played at the Garden as part of Newburyport High's state-title team in 2009. Billy, a senior, now plays for the Tri City Storm in the United States Hockey League. Chris, a junior, plays for the Valley Junior Warriors in Lawrence. Both players have committed to full collegiate hockey scholarships at UMass Lowell.
"My brothers say it's an amazing atmosphere playing at the Garden," Shane Eiserman said. "I'd love to follow in their footsteps and win a state championship."
Eiserman will follow in his brothers' footsteps in one respect: He will play a significant role in a state-championship game as an underclassmen. The first-line forward has tallied 50 points (24 goals, 26 assists) in his freshman campaign. In St. John's Prep's 5-1 victory over Weymouth in the semifinal Wednesday evening at Merrimack College, Eiserman scored two goals.
He opened the scoring in the first period by weaving through two defenders and tucking the puck between Weymouth goalie Brian Brady's pads. He also added a power-play slap-shot goal in the third period.
"Some kids, especially a freshman, might just dump the puck there and go for a change, but Shane saw an opportunity. He made a great individual move and got a shot on net," said John Farrow, Eiserman's linemate.