After the Holy Cross basketball team lost to St. Raymond at Fordham’s Rose Hill Gym Sunday afternoon, the pressure was on the school’s hockey team a few hours later in Mount Vernon.
“I knew we couldn’t come back empty-handed,” joked Knights coach Kevin Goodspeed.
His team took care of that early, scoring three first-period goals en route to a 6-0 victory against archrival St. Francis Prep at the Ice Hutch in Mount Vernon.
The Knights sweep the best-of-three CHSHL Class B championship series, 2-0, to win their third title in four years.
It’s a tribute to a special senior class, according to Goodspeed.
“It’s the best senior class we’ve ever had at the school,” he said. “It’s going to be tough to lose these nine seniors. They’re irreplaceable. We have five captains out there and there is a reason for it. It’s not even about the championships they’ve won. It’s the level of talent they have and the commitment to the program.”
The seniors won back-to-back ‘B’ championships, but struggled mightily in the move up to Class A as juniors. That’s what made another title run even sweeter.
“We knew we had to come out and do what we had to do and win,” forward Nick Bowerman said. “It’s great to end it like this. I wish I had another year.”
Added Sean Dolan: “We went from not winning a game last year to dominating the whole year. We found our stride and we finished the job.”
Holy Cross (18-1-1) made sure it didn’t give shorthanded St. Francis Prep any hopes of forcing a decisive Game 3. Dolan and Cody Frucht (two goals) gave the Knights, which beat the Terriers, 6-1, in Game 1, a commanding 3-0 lead after one period.
“We wanted to avoid a Game 3 at all costs,” Goodspeed said. “When you’re playing a team you’re so familiar with, anything can happen in a Game 3.”
After a scoreless second period, Steven Cacchioli, Brandon Muller and Rob Anderson added third-period goals, while JD Schabhuttl (13 saves in two periods) and David Pastiglione (10 saves in the third period) combined for the shutout.
“I’m speechless,” Dolan said. “I can’t even put it into words. Kids in other schools have no championships. It’s amazing I’m leaving with three.”
While he’s ecstatic his team won another championship, Goodspeed said the only thing that would have made it sweeter was if St. Francis Prep (12-5-3) was at full strength.
The Terriers again missed star forward Patrick Schule, who was with his travel hockey team and fellow first-line forward Steven Leonard was serving the final game of a three-game suspension.
“It feels good, it really does, but I just wish Pat Schule would’ve been here,” Goodspeed said. “He was definitely missed, but you have to give the Prep kids a lot of credit. They never gave up and it’s a testament to their program.”
And three championships in four years is a testament to a special group of seniors.
“It’s all I could’ve hoped it could be,” Bowerman said. “Winning three out of four is great. I’ll never forget it.”
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