St. Anthony's takes CHSHL crown in OT
Sometimes championships are won with talent, other times with grit, and occasionally it takes one lucky bounce.
In St. Anthony's case Saturday, it was all three.
With 7:06 left in overtime of Game 2 of the CHSHL finals, St. Anthony's had pressure in Chaminade's zone when a Flyers defensemen inadvertently slid the puck into his own net with his hand as he tried to pass it to goaltender Brandon Destasio.
The official scorekeeper said Joey Loaicano was the last St. Anthony's player to touch the puck, as the top-seeded Friars beat Chaminade, 3-2, at Abe Stark Rink in Coney Island, to sweep the best-of-three series.
St. Anthony's (17-2-1) had won Game 1, 4-2, Thursday, and now moves on to try to defend its CHSAA state championship, Saturday at Niagara University.
"We put pressure on the defensemen and it was just the hard work and effort that made us champions," Loaicano said. "It came down to who wanted it more and that was us. The bounces went our way and we got lucky."
Forward Joey Slevin said: "It feels good. We knew we had to come up big in overtime and we did."
The teams exchanged goals late in the third period, as St. Anthony's took its second lead of the game with 3:46 left in regulation when Baylee Modugno scored on a three-on-one rush to make it 2-1. Slevin had cleared the puck from the Friars' zone to Modugno, who skated up the right side and beat Destasio with a wrist shot.
Chaminade (14-5-2) answered to force OT just two minutes later when James Henry put one into an empty net as St. Anthony's goalie Dan Peterson was caught outside the crease when he was hit by both a Chaminade and St. Anthony's skater.
Slevin initially gave St. Anthony's a 1-0 lead with 7:38 left in the opening period as he beat Destasio on the glove side with a blistering righthanded wrist shot. Chaminade's Joseph Anile tied it later in the first on a rebound goal off an initial try by Henry.
The teams were scoreless in the second and entered the third period tied at 1. St. Anthony's outshot Chaminade 26-18, as both Peterson and Destasio made clutch saves down the stretch to keep their teams in it.
For St. Anthony's, the win was even sweeter coming against archrival Chaminade.
"It's most exciting beating Chaminade, especially in overtime," Loaicano said. "The rivalry is great."