By Dylan Butler
As he skated from his crease after two scoreless periods, Holy Cross goaltender Matt Cammarata couldn’t help but think he’d been through this before.
One day short of the three-week anniversary of his first varsity shutout, the freshman from Glendale was again on the ice, against the same Xavier Knights. And thanks to Joey Temperini’s third period goal, the result was the same as Cammarata stopped 19 shots for his second career blanking in Holy Cross’ 1-0 win at the Ice Hutch in Mount Vernon Saturday afternoon.
“They’re a pretty good team, but after the second period I was hoping for the same thing that happened last game,” said Cammarata, who lowered his league-leading goals against average to 1.87. “I was hoping for a rerun.”
After Temperini’s seventh goal of the year, the Holy Cross defense allowed Cammarata to go into cruise control. Led by Cosmin Softletca, Tony Kalamas and Rob DiRico, the Knights’ defense blocked shots, cleared the front of the net, intercepted passes and played physical at the blue line, allowing just one shot to get through to Cammarata in the third period.
“That was the best defense we’ve played all year,” said Holy Cross coach Mike Mitchell. “That was the best period and this is the time you want to do that, with just three regular season games left.”
With Holy Cross (17-5-1, 10-2-1 CHSHL C) trailing first-place Salesian by just four points heading into the game, Mitchell knew how important it was to get a win over Xavier. But after playing well in the first period, the Knights struggled and actually got outplayed in the second period, something that has almost become routine for Holy Cross this season.
“Sometimes we just have a letdown,” Temperini said. “But we’re a third period team. We seem to get out legs back in the third period.”
Against Xavier (5-9), it was no different. Just 2:11 into the third period Temperini and Ray Wilson skated into the Xavier zone on a 2-on-2 break. Temperini carried the puck between the circles and let loose what looked like a harmless wrist shot.
But Temperini caught Xavier goaltender Starace flat-footed as the fluttering puck trickled into the net off the post.
“You just have to get the puck on net,” Temperini said. “But, hey, a goal is a goal.”
Added Mitchell: “I told them that [Starace] is known to give up a lot of rebounds, so just put the puck on net. Joey’s a perfect example of that, he went one way and got the goalie going the other way.”
Reach Associate Sports Editor Dylan Butler by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 143.