By David Willis
STONEHAM — His face clearly showed the disappointment of a heart-breaking loss. But Central Catholic goalie Colin Soucy’s spirits were lifted by the loud chorus of “Sooooous” cheers that met him as he exited the locker room last night, courtesy of a large group of Raider fans.
“There isn’t enough time to talk about everything Colin has done for us this season,” said Central coach Mike Jankowski. “Everything has started with Colin in net. He has been the one that has given us the confidence and made everyone believe we could accomplish this (Super 8) run.”
Soucy’s first season as netminder for the Central Catholic varsity team may have came to an end last night, as the Raiders dropped the decisive third game of their best-of-3 Super 8 series to top-seeded St. John’s Prep. But the North Andover resident was still the talk of the rink following the game.
“He is the best goalie that we have faced all year,” said St. John’s Prep coach Kristian Hansen. “We have seen a lot of great goalies this season, but against us he is the best I have seen all year. It’s too bad for us he’s a junior, because we have to face him again next year.”
Soucy’s emergence as a star in net proved to be one of the biggest stories of the 2013 Super 8 tournament, whether it was his 24-save gem in Central’s upset of the Prep in Game 1, his 39-save masterpiece on Friday or his 21-save encore last night, in which he made at least three highlight-reel stops to keep Central in the game.
“I am so happy I came back to play for Central this year,” said Soucy. “You can’t get this kind of experience anywhere else in hockey. The Super 8 has such an amazing atmosphere. Over 1,000 fans cheering us on, it is so loud. That is definitely not something you get in junior hockey.
“I felt like I played really well the first two games (of the St. John’s Prep series). I wish I could have this game back, but I feel like I was OK.”
The Raiders had no idea they had hit the jackpot when they welcomed Soucy back this season, after he left to play junior hockey during his sophomore year.
“We really didn’t know what we had,” said Jankowski. “We knew he was a great competitor and a great kid. But he has really stepped in and done such a great job for us. As a player, a student and as a person, he represents everything we want out of a Central Catholic athlete.
“It doesn’t matter if it was Day 1 at the Valley Forum or a do-or-die game like today, he came up big for us every time we needed him.”
Soucy, who played JV Central as a freshman before going to juniors, shined in the regular season, playing in every game and finishing with a 1.80 goals-against average and a pair of shutouts.
But he saved most of his best work for the Super 8. First it was blanking Hingham in the third period and overtime to allow his teammates to rally back and win the play-in game, then he delivered against the Prep, a team he also made 27 saves against in a regular season win.
“Soucy just kept making stop after stop and he really started to frustrate us,” said Hansen. “We were lucky to get the goals that we did. We were very impressed by him. He has a great future in this game.”
But, at the moment, Soucy is focused on his job at Central Catholic.
“I wish it hadn’t ended like this,” said Soucy. “But it has been an incredible ride. Being with the guys, doing all this with them. Having people doubt us and still make it. I missed that while playing in juniors. I wish it could keep going. I can’t wait to get back on the ice.”
Relive the action
For Central Catholic highlights and interviews from the Raiders’ Super 8 matchup with St. John’s Prep, visit eagletribune.com/sports.