By Joseph Staszewski
Tyler Murphy had to keep telling his St. Francis Prep teammate “No” when they asked him to step on to the ice for the Terriers’ last season.
The sophomore spent his freshman year traveling across the country with the Long Island Gulls amateur hockey club on one of the best teams in the country in their age group. He didn’t have time to play for the school team.
“They wanted me to come down,” said Murphy, a forward. “Again and again [I said no] over the first two months of the school year. They were all over me in school.”
His schedule this season is less demanding with the Suffolk Juniors, giving him the chance to make an immediate impact for SFP. He had two of the most important goals and added an assist in the Terriers’ 9-4 win over Stepinac in the CHSHL ‘B’ Division at Flushing Meadow Park Monday night.
“He brought a quality player back to the team.” St. Francis Prep Coach Michael Watts said. “We lost good quality players [to graduation] and he helped replace that.”
Murphy made a tough breakaway look easy to give SFP (4-1) a 3-2 lead with 4:02 left in the second period. He raced down a long pass down the left side and a full speed with little room between him and the net and brought the puck across his body and scored under the legs of the goalie.
“He sent me the pass and it was at my feet a little bit,” Murphy said. “I just kicked it up and I was able to sweep it around and put it in the five hole.”
Murphy scored again on a break way with 9:48 left in the game to put SFP up 5-3 before they broke the game open. Aaron Acosta scored four times and Anthony DiPerri added a goal and an assist. Goalie Daniel Lettire made big saves early when the game was tight.
St. Francis Prep has cruised through its competition of late, including a 9-2 win over Stepinac (2-5) Dec. 27. It has the team looking forward to its rematch with rival Holy Cross Saturday. The division-leading Knights handed SFP its only loss of the season and stand in their way of winning a title.
“It’s everything,” forward Aaron Acosta said. “The way I see it that’s really our only competition.”
The addition of Murphy to an already talented group of scorers will only help their chances of taking home the crown.
“We have a very high-powered team and I think even our defensemen think offense,” Murphy said. “I think that’s what leads up to all our success.”