Perna and Gogos lead St. Joe’s past rival Canisius
A standing room-only crowd more than 2,000 filled the facility’s Feature Rink for what is not only one of the region’s longest standing high-school rivalries, but more significantly – a battle of the league’s unbeaten teams.
The Marauders (5-0-1) opened the game’s scoring at the 13:30 mark of the first period, at which point Perna assisted Gogos, who whipped a wrist shot past Crusaders goaltender Connor Naughton.
Midway through the second period, the Crusaders (5-1) took back-to-back penalties – one of which resulted in the first of Perna’s three goals, giving the Marauders a 2-0 advantage. Gogos was credited with the assist. With 20 seconds remaining in the period, the Marauders took a 3-0 lead, this time the result of Perna feeding the puck to Gogos, who flipped a backhand shot past Naughton.
The Marauders outshot the Crusaders, 27-6, through the first two periods.
“We didn’t play our best game,” admitted Jason Bridge, interim head coach for the Crusaders. “I think we only had six shots in the first two periods.”
Perna gave the Marauders a 4-0 lead at the 8:11 mark of the third period, beating Naughton – who finished with 31 saves – with a backhand shot. Austin Aksoy put the Crusaders on the board at 9:52, but less than 20 seconds later, Perna added his third goal – once again assisted by Gogos.
“For the big games, we need our big players to step up,” said Marauders head coach Rich Crozier. “They’ve been playing together all year, and Dom’s usually the workhorse and Dimitri’s usually the finisher. But today, Dom stepped in that roll. This was his first federation game against Canisius and he gets a hat trick. So, I’m pretty happy for this kid.”
“It’s a great time,” said Perna, who was donning the team’s hard hat, given each game by Crozier to his best player. “Playing in front of all of those people who are cheering your name and stuff – it’s great. It’s just awesome.”
Crusaders winger Greg Marsh tacked on the game’s final goal – unassisted – with less than five minutes remaining, beating Marauders goatender Nicholas George, who stopped 14 of the 16 shots he faced.
Freelance sportswriter Charles Roberts covers the Western New York Varsity Hockey Federation for MetroWNY.com. Reach him at ChRobert3@aol.com or twitter.com/cHartleyRoberts.