The puck had just spun there, floating on the crease. All Jason Morello had to do was simply reach out with the edge of his stick and tap it in; a gift from the hockey gods in the midst of the mad scramble. Sixty-eight seconds later James Carroll landed another inside, albeit in a much more traditional sense on the left side.
You couldn’t blame Brandon DeStasio for being frustrated as he slashed the right-hand pipe with his goaltender’s stick, sending a reverberating twang through the Ice Hutch Thursday night in Mount Vernon as Chaminade fell to St. Anthony’s 4-2 in the first game of the 2013 CHSHL championship, putting them in a must-win situation Saturday night.
“I think everybody forgets, their goaltender’s very good; he’s exceptional,” Flyers head coach Frank Bendl said. “And our guy played good too.”
DeStasio and St. Anthony’s senior goalkeeper Daniel Peterson are considered the No. 2 and No. 1 keepers in the league, ranked by virtue of their team’s records, making 23 and 29 saves in the match, respectively.
“It’s great defense (in front of) the net and it’s pretty easy to stop the shots when you can see them,” Peterson would later say. “Our defense does a great job communicating in front of the net for everyone. It’s good to see in front.”
Not that the Friars ever give him as much to keep himself occupied as opposing goaltenders, their high-pressure offense aggressively keeping the puck well beyond the far blue-line.
“Danny’s been our mainstay all year, he’s been our guy and defense played well,” St. Anthony’s head coach Jeff Stelmok said.
“He’s a great goalie and our defense, just outstanding,” Friars forward Alec Manfre said of Peterson.
“I think early on our first line had a lot of opportunities and they just kept hitting the goalie,” Bendl continued. “You’ve got to pick corners.”
St. Anthony’s had maintained it’s 2-0 advantage going into the third period, with much of the energy sapped from the Chaminade lines following a Bryan Whelan powerplay goal 2:03 into the final frame.
Following a crosscheck and tripping penalties, the Flyers were finally able to score on a shot from forward James Henry with barely seven minutes left in the game on a one-man advantage. Michael Minarczyk scored an even-strength goal with 1:48 left in the game.
One of their best opportunities for Chaminade to claw within one came in the second where a shot had taken a patented “Ice Hutch-bounce,” drawing Peterson off-net and dropping behind him, leaving the goal exposed only to have the shot sail wide.
“I think it’s a matter of the bounces,” Bendl said sitting on a bench outside one of the locker rooms. “I thought there were a lot of unlucky bounces. We might have scored earlier and it might have made a difference.”
Stelmok was “disappointed” with discipline in the third, saying that“we gave some things away that we shouldn’t have and we’re really going to have to tighten that up for game two if we want to win this thing.”
Added Manfre: “little mistakes and the few mistakes we do make we really need to fix them and we build off that and we learn and that’s really why I think we keep winning and we’re so successful.”
The win puts Chaminade one loss away from elimination and St. Anthony’s one win away from retaining their hockey crown for another season. The only two losses the Flyers have this season are against St. Anthony’s, along with one 2-2 tie.
“We’ve struggled with these guys on and off this season and we knew we had to come out strong in game one and fortunately we out-lasted them,” Stelmok said.
“They’re a great rival, it’s always fun to play them,” said Peterson.
“All season we’ve needed to boost our character up and play together and I think we did that today,” Manfre said. “First shift start going out and moving the feed and I think we did well at that and we’re going to come back harder Saturday.”
Peterson: “one game can mean everything and we always try to get the first game.”
While the Friars had swept Fordham Prep in the semis, Chaminade has been in this position before, losing their first semi to Iona only to win games two and three.
“They came at us pretty good, Iona; they won that game,” Bendl said. “Even a man up, we were pretty even; they scored two, we scored two; a man up. We can beat these guys. It’s only one game. Saturday, we’ll be back.”1 2 3 F Chaminade 0 0 2 2 St. Anthony’s 2 0 2 4
Chaminade Scoring Statistics Player Goals Assts. James Henry 1 0 Michael Minarczyk 1 0 Joseph Anile 0 1 Brian Lynch 0 1
Chaminade Goalkeeping Goalie Shots Brandon DeStasio 27
St. Anthony’s Scoring Statistics Player Goals Assts. James Carroll 1 2 Joseph Slevin 1 1 Jason Morello 1 0 Bryan Whelan 1 0 Chris Calandra 0 1 Brent D’Iorio
St. Anthony’s Goalkeeping Goalie Shots Daniel Peterson 29