St. Mary’s 4, Abp. Williams 1
Unlike other league tournaments this week, the Catholic Central Large Tournament determined the league champion, the regular-season’s results simply prologue to seeding the four tournament qualifiers. Any well-worn cliché applies here, each containing an element of truth to St. Mary’s (6-6-3) surge to the title with a 4-1 win at The Canton Sportsplex, a wrenching end to Archbishop Williams (12-1-3) bid to simultaneously claim the crown and finish unbeaten.
“It was a season like no other. There were so many distractions on a daily basis with all the different COVID protocols but we made the best of it. When you finally hit the ice the game was the same and it was a great high school hockey game last night. To beat a very talented previously undefeated team on the road for the league cup was not easy. It took every guy from our goaltender out to bring his best game which we did,” St. Mary’s long-time coach Mark Lee said.
“I’m very proud of the effort these guys put in from the first drop of the puck to the final buzzer. These kids will be telling their kids about playing during all the COVID restrictions,” he added.
Williams – which won both regular-season games between the teams – came out flying and took a 1-0 lead on its first shot at 1:31 when Christian Koylion scorched a blast past Spartans’ keeper Owen Giangrande (25 saves) off Aidan McDonnell’s feed. St. Mary’s matched that in short order with Dante D’Ambrosio knotting it at 2:59.
Despite several stretches of extended Williams’ control, the Spartans never wavered. Kyle LoNigro banged home a rebound from a goalmouth scrum for the GWG at 5:58 of the second period after two saves by Archies’ freshman goalie Brendan Carberry. Colby Magliozzi applied what, for all intents and purposes, was the dagger with a rising wrister from the right circle to make it 3-1 with 2:51 left in the period. In between, the Spartans stifled two ABW power plays with excellent puck pursuit.
Giangrande kept the two-goal lead intact with several stellar third-period stops, none better than his post-to-post dive across the crease to deny McDonnell’s look at a wide open left side. LoNigro’s second with 2:43 remaining sealed it.