The Loomis Chaffee Pelicans are the new Boys Prep Martin/Earl Large School champions.
Thanks to a phenomenal performance from junior goalie Kyle Chauvette (34 saves), Loomis was able to hold off Cushing Academy 2-0 at the Koeppel Community Center on the campus of Trinity College on Sunday afternoon.
“I was just focusing on one shot at a time,” Chauvette said when asked how he was able to keep things calm in such a tight game. “I’d say just trying not to focus on the event and the day itself, but just one shot after the next. Just had to stay in the present and keep my focus.’
That focus came in handy for the majority of the game a Loomis jumped out to a 1-0 lead with just 48.2 seconds left in the first period on a goal from Cody Hoban, but that was the only goal either team would score until an empty netter from Adam Martin with just 2.2 seconds left officially locked up the title for the Pelicans.
Cushing peppered the Loomis Chaffee net all afternoon but Chauvette was ready, never looking rattled and calmly steering away rebounds. Chauvette was able to see his way through traffic when needed at times too, saving his best performance for the last game of the year.
“He’s a really committed kid,” said Loomis coach JR Zavisza of his net minder. “He’s a hard working kid and on his best days he’s great like he was today. That’s great to see that happen on this stage. It’s one thing playing a game in the middle of the season against a team you know you should beat, but on this stage it really demonstrates where he’s at.
“Like anybody there’s some highs and lows, but the attitude and effort that he has day in and day out is what really stands out every single day.”
Chauvette’s biggest test came in the second period when the Penguins seemed to have possession the entire time, but, it was two saves that came with just 4:05 remaining in the game that were the true game-changers. Chauvette was forced to make a stop at the right post, then quickly slid to his left to make a pad save on a follow up shot destined for the inside of the net on the left post. All day long Cushing seemed like they were about to break through at any point, yet Chauvette wouldn’t allow it.
“Just battling as hard as I could,” he said. “Just fighting for every puck, just keep working, knowing it’s the last game and just battle for the team. It’s amazing and it’s great for the program. Down the road guys are going to see this win today and hopefully want to be a part of a winning culture here.”
Chauvette’s head coach echoed many of the same sentiments in terms of just how important the title is to the Chaffee program.
“It’s our second in five or six years, and really it just shows we can compete on this stage,” added Zavisza. “You know, maybe we’re a player or two away from the Elite 8, but we had a big group of seniors and thesis the year we were kind of thinking we would have a shot at winning something, so it’s great they got the job done and are able to go out on top.”