When you go up against the varsity hockey team, you take small victories. A breakaway, a shot on net, a powerplay. Even a goal. Because that is all they allow you, sometimes not even.
The Friars had allowed one goal all season, a total Flyer forward James Henry equaled Friday night at Iceworks in Syosset. Teammate in the season as St. Anthony’s held Chaminade scoreless for following that goal, improving their record to 12-0 with a 6-1 win Friday and clinching first place in the CHSHL..
“It means a lot,” St. Anthony’s head coach Jeff Stelmok said about the undefeated record. “it would be great to stay that route, hopefully keep our record intact, but that’s not the ultimate goal, the ultimate goal is to keep improving every game and try to make sure the guys limit their mistakes and keep rolling as a team and a unit.”
As much as the two schools’ rivalry has been one-sided on the ice this year, the teams showed a much more evenly match set of lines during the first two periods, with St. Anthony’s only scoring with 2:50 left in the first, the longest they have been held from the net so far by Chaminade.
“We’ve been working on a system for defense and it was working,” Flyer assistant coach Kevin Bendl said. “Defensively we were great; we were right in that game the whole game except toward the end it got a little out of hand and that’s why people are going to see the score and think we got blown out, but we didn’t. We’re learning from how they’re coming at us, we’re practicing our defensive play.”
The depth of the St. Anthony’s bench has been it’s key to staying undefeated as well as both being adept at passing and Stelmok’s concentration on skating.
“Most of the teams hang in with us early in the game and we try to wear them down. I think that that kinda showed itself tonight,” he said. “The kids on our team have responsibilities in all three zones at all times so they’re always on the same page; that’s why our passing is effective.”
The bench is also what allows Stelmok some breathing room before the playoffs; extra time to experiment while others – like Chaminade – are focused on just getting into the post-season.
“We’re not playing our typical game where we’re in a structured system,” Stelmok said. “We’re kinda working on some more defensive patterns and dumping the puck and rotating all the lines to build up the rapport and get everybody out there together.”
Once again the Friars spread their goals out among their linemen, with two from Melville native Joseph Loiacono and a pair of assists from Matt Martino.
Chaminade goalkeeper Brandon Destasio got a good workout during the first two periods, making several last-second diving saves drawing applause from the bench but let in six on 31 shots from St. Anthony’s, including a backhanded pass from junior defenseman James Carroll that capped the Friar scoring, but showed signs of frustration at the loss.
“It’s frustrating because it’s the Chaminade-St. Anthony’s rivalry, you don’t want to go down and lose all three games,” Bendl said. “Hopefully we’ll meet them in the playoffs.”
With Iona Prep ahead of Chaminade by 2 points in the standings, the Flyers must win the next two games, including a date with Msgr. Farrell in Brooklyn this afternoon, Fordham Prep and St. Mary’s later this week to ensure a higher-seeding playoff spot, but even that is not guaranteed as the Gaels own the tie-breaker with 47 goals scored to the Flyers’ 37.
1 2 3 F St. Anthony’s 1 2 3 6 Chaminade High School 0 1 0 1
Chaminade Scoring Statistics
Player Goals Assts. James Henry 1 0 Jospeh Anile 0 1
Goalie Shots Brandon Destasio 26
St. Anthony’s Scoring Statistics
Player Goals Assts. Joseph Loiacono 2 0 James Carroll 1 1 Tyler Hall 1 0 Chris Sabanos 1 0 Chris Wallace 1 0 Michael Marnell 0 2 Mike Martino 0 2 Joseph Slevin 0 1 Chris Habberstad 0 1 Nick Nici 0 1
St. Anthony’s Goalkeeping
Goalie Shots Dan Peterson 22