St. Francis Prep wins big, but loses key player
St. Francis Prep coach Mike Watts should have been ecstatic about his team’s 10-1 victory against St. Peter’s in Game 1 of the CHSHL Class B best-of-three semifinal series Monday night.
Instead, Watts was in a foul mood following the penalty-filled contest, especially when finding out first line forward Steven Leonard could miss the remainder of the postseason.
“Am I happy with the outcome of the win? Yes,” Watts said. “Am I happy with what happened with all the penalties? No. It doesn’t help.”
Leonard was issued a five-minute major and was disqualified for a retaliatory head butt after St. Peter’s forward John Galante received a cross checking major and was also ejected midway through the third period. Both players will serve a three-game suspension.
“He’s been one of the key players for us the whole year,” St. Francis Prep forward Patrick Schule said of Leonard, who had three assists Monday night. “He’s our assistant captain, a good leader and missing him for a couple of games would definitely hurt us.”
Both teams combined for 21 penalties with St. Francis Prep cashing in five times on the power play.
Schule had three goals and three assists, Aaron Acosta had three goals and three assists, Chris Ferrara, Steven Pelan and Sean Leonard also scored for St. Francis Prep (11-3-3), which exploded for seven second-period goals after a slim 1-0 lead after the first period.
“Their goalie was playing pretty good in the beginning, but then we just started putting more shots on net and he started getting more tired and we started popping them in,” Schule said.
The Terriers actually scored five goals in the last 5:34 of the second and took a commanding 8-0 lead into the final 15 minutes.
“Maybe we just had stronger legs at that point, maybe they were a little tired,” Watts said. “I really can’t say. We had our opportunities and we took advantage of them. A couple power play goals here and there help out.”
The only question going into the third would be if St. Francis Prep goaltender John Doyle would pick up the shutout, but Travis Saladis provided the lone bright spot for St. Peter’s (11-5-1), the defending CHSHL Class B champs, with a power play goal 4:46 into the third.
St. Francis Prep would wrap up the semifinal series and clinch a berth in the finals with a Game 2 victory Friday night at Abe Stark Rink. If the Eagles prevail, the teams will play a decisive third game Saturday night at the Ice Hutch.
The Terriers could meet archrival Holy Cross in the finals. The Knights took the opening game of their series, beating Xavier, 3-2, Monday at the World Ice Arena.
“That would be good, they’re our rivals, I’m friends with most of the kids from that team,” Schule said. “It would make for a good story.”
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