By Dylan Butler
Need evidence of the parity in the Catholic High School Hockey League’s ‘B’ division? Just check out St. Joseph by the Sea’s playoff run.
The Vikings were the last of six teams to make the playoffs, but rallied from a two-goal deficit to shock third-seeded Christ the King in the quarterfinals last Thursday, 3-2.
In the opening game of the best-of-three semifinal series against No. 1 St. Francis Prep Saturday night, St. Joe’s again rallied from two goals down to tie the game twice, giving the Terriers all they could handle before Prep scored a pair of third period goals to win, 5-3 at the Ice Hutch in Mount Vernon.
Game two will be at the Ice Hutch Friday at 6:30 p.m. and should St. Joe’s win, the deciding game will be played at Abe Stark Rink on Coney Island Saturday at 7:45 p.m.
“On a good day, you can get a win in this league, but we almost had a bad day,” said St. Francis Prep captain Dan McCloskey, who had an assist in the win. “It shows how much you have to fight for every inch.”
Offensively the hero for St. Francis Prep (10-5-2) was again junior forward James Bertorelli, who netted his second hat trick of the season against St. Joseph by the Sea.
Bertorelli opened the game’s scoring with 6:49 left in the first period when he skated down the wing and shielded a defender. The CHSHL ‘B’ division’s third-leading scorer cut along the goal line in on St. Joe’s goaltender Peter Adinolfi and roofed a wrist shot on the power play.
It worked one time, so Bertorelli went to same move again and again. And they resulted in his final two goals; the last put the game away with 2:30 left in the third period as he stole the puck along the corner boards and scored on a high wrist shot.
“Every time I shot he went down, so I just shot high,” Bertorelli said. “I just took advantage of it. I came out of the corner a lot and looked in front of the net.”
While Bertorelli was the offensive star, junior goaltender Mike Giacomino was the defensive hero, stopping 18 shots to earn the win. His biggest saves came with the game up for grabs.
With 2:09 left in the second period and Prep leading 3-2, Nick Siciliano found a wide-open Mike Lodispoto on an amazing behind-the-back cross-ice pass. Lodispoto came in on a breakaway, but Giacomino stood strong, stopping the wrist shot.
Less than two minutes into the third period, Lodispoto got a step on Steve Cameron and again had a breakaway with the game tied at 3. But the result was the same as Giacomino not only made the initial save, but also stopped Lodispoto, who slapped at the rebound.
“I love it, just one-on-one. It’s a big thrill,” Giacomino said of facing breakaways. “My job is to keep the puck out of the net and hold the lead. When our forwards give us an opportunity, I try and hold it for them and get us a win.”
In addition to Bertorelli’s hat trick, Nicolas Carpanini and Giancarlo Racanelli scored for St. Francis Prep, while Frank Tulino, Lodispoto and Thomas Bucco scored for St. Joseph. Bucco had a golden chance to tie the game at 4 with 3:20 left in the third period, but fanned on a rebound chance from just to the right of the open net.
Molloy 3, St. Peter’s 2. Joey Evangelista scored the game-winning goal with 30 seconds left in overtime when he stuffed home his own rebound to give the Stanners the win in the opening game of its CHSHL ‘B’ semifinal series in Seacacus, N.J. Saturday night. Dan Marsanico and Paul LiVecchi also scored for fourth-seeded Molloy (7-6-4).
St. Joe’s 3, Christ the King 2. Mike Rizzo scored a pair of first period goals on assists from Jakub Kubrak to give the third-seeded Royals (7-6-4) a 2-0 lead, but St. Joe’s rallied on a second period goal by Bucco and third period goals by Gianfranco Verga and Lodispoto last Thursday at Murray Rink.
Molloy 5, St. Edmund 1. The Stanners blew the quarterfinal game open with a three-goal third period. LiVecchi, Sean Kearney and Evangelista scored in the third while Anastasio and Matt Davino also scored for the Stanners.
Holy Cross 6, McClancy 1. Jonathan Price, Joe Temperini, Eric Mistretta, Ray Wilson, Bryan Benini and Mark Goetzger scored for Holy Cross (11-3-2) while Ryan Ferguson scored the lone McClancy (6-10) goal. Top-seed Holy Cross plays Cardinal Spellman in the best-of-three CHSHL ‘C’ division semifinals. Game one is Thursday at 5:15 p.m. at Murray Rink.
Reach Associate Sports Editor Dylan Butler by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 143.