St. Joe’s knocks off rival Canisius in overtime
Heading into the third period, the Marauders (7-0-1) had a 3-1 lead, outshooting the rival Crusaders, 22-11, in the process. But the Crusaders (6-2) stormed back – scoring two third-period power-play goals.
Crusaders winger Louie Olivieri chipped in a loose puck – with a two-man advantage – at the 4:44 mark, narrowing the Marauders lead to 3-2. Less than four minutes later, winger Austin Aksoy, who finished with three points, whipped a wrist shot from the slot – beating Marauders goaltender Nicholas George to even the score.
“I wasn’t really happy with what happened in the third [period],” said St. Joe's head coach Rich Crozier. “You definitely can’t be undisciplined. Down that hallway is a good hockey team. We have a lot of respect for them, even though they are our biggest rival. …We left the door open and they went through it. They tied things up, and we called a little timeout to settle things down.”
The Marauders opened the game’s scoring at the 7:15 mark of the first period, at which point Eric Paradowski – a captain and first-line winger – planted himself to the right of Crusaders goaltender Connor Naughton and waived his stick, calling for the puck. Dominic Perna, also a winger on the team’s top line, slid a perfect pass across the crease to an uncovered Pawadowski, who fired a wrist shot over Naughton’s left shoulder. Gogos, who centers Paradowski and Perna, was also credited with an assist on the play.
“They are playing really well together,” Crozier said of his top line. “As a team, and as a coaching staff, any time they are on the ice, we seem to be playing our best hockey.”
Less than a minute into the second period, Marauders center Zachary Klapp skated deep into the offensive zone, before finding winger Kyle Moslow, who scored a power-play goal, making it 2-0. The Crusaders responded – also on the power-play – less than two minutes later, when Askoy fired the puck through traffic and past George, who finished with 19 saves. At the 9:15 mark, Gogos won the faceoff and slid the puck to Perna, who quickly backhanded it past Naughton, who finished with 29 saves, giving the Marauders a 3-1 advantage.
“That’s basically what every St. Joe’s kid that plays hockey dreams about: Canisius, overtime, [and scoring] a quick goal,” Gogos said. “We didn’t play our best in the third, but we had a good talk after the third period and we went out and executed quick.”
Coming into the contest, the Marauders had a one-point advantage – 13-12 – over the Crusaders for first place in Division II. With the win, the Marauders distanced the gap by another two points, and secured the top seed in the Catholic-school postseason, which gets under way Feb. 19 at Niagara University.
Each game, Crozier awards his top player with a hard hat. Thursday, he gave it to defenseman Kyle Klawon, a senior, who slipped on black ice in the parking lot before the contest – injuring his left ankle.
“He’s a senior and he wasn’t able to play,” Crozier said. “We gave him one shift and he couldn’t go. You talk about a wonderful and fantastic kid. [He has a] 97 average, takes four A.P. [advanced placement] classes and he just lives and breathes St. Joe’s hockey. The fact that he couldn’t play Canisius as a senior tonight – because of a fluke incident on some black ice – is just a heart-breaker. But he had a great attitude and deserved the hard hat for that.”
Freelance sportswriter Charles Roberts covers the WNY Varsity Hockey Federation for MetroWNY.com. Reach him at ChRobert3@aol.com or twitter.com/cHarteyRoberts.