By Dylan Butler
They stood on the bench, one next to another, banging their sticks against the rickety boards at the Ice Hutch in Mount Vernon as the final seconds ticked off their most impressive victory of the season last Thursday.
For the Holy Cross hockey team, a convincing 4-2 victory over rival Archbishop Molloy meant much more than three points in the CHSHL ‘B’ division standings.
After a pair of ties and an embarrassing 4-0 loss to the Stanners, the Knights proved they could beat Molloy — becoming the first team to do so this year — with just one game remaining in the regular season.
“We know we can do it now and I think the team needed that,” said Holy Cross junior forward Chris Ryan. “Going into the playoffs, we know that we beat the best team in the league but we don’t see any reason why we can’t be the best team and win it all if we play like that every game.”
A day after being held in check by St. Joseph by the Sea in a 4-2 loss, Ryan showed why he is the most prolific scorer in CHSHL ‘B’ division. He had two goals and an assist, including a back-breaking shorthanded goal 10 seconds into the third period that put Holy Cross (7-5-3 CHSHL ‘B’) in front 4-2 after an early 2-0 deficit.
“I just hope they got it in their heads. I hope to God it finally sunk in,” said Holy Cross coach Mike Mitchell, whose team has played inconsistent throughout the regular season. “Hopefully we don’t lose the momentum and have a relapse against Christ the King (Thursday).”
Holy Cross also made Molloy pay with a pair of power play goals by Chris Anastasio and Ryan, and Knights goaltender Matt Cammarata shook off some early nerves — which saw him give up first-period goals to Paul LiVecchi and Chris Massi — to make a pair of spectacular game-altering saves midway through the second period.
Sprawled across the goal mouth, the junior from Glendale robbed Matt Lavanco not once, but twice, with Holy Cross trailing 2-1.
Four minutes later Ryan fed the puck to Chris Will, whose wrist shot from the right circle beat Molloy goalie Harrison Knee to tie the game at 2.
“At first I felt a little shaky and once we scored the first goal I figured we were rolling,” said Cammarata, who made 18 saves. “I figured I’d keep us in it, just try and then we’d start putting goals in the net.”
After giving up Ryan’s second goal of the game 10 seconds into the third period — Holy Cross’ fourth unanswered goal — Molloy coach Richie Rodgers called timeout and replaced Knee with sophomore Mike Oseback.
But Molloy (12-1-2) didn’t match Holy Cross’ intensity and couldn’t get sustained pressure inside the Knights’ blue line in the third period.
In fact, the Stanners were pinned in their own zone for much of the final two minutes by the Knights’ aggressive forecheck and couldn't get the extra skater on the ice until the final seconds.
“Hopefully this will get a message across to them that they’re not invincible and that you have to play with intensity,” Rodgers said. “We did not respond. I would have liked to have seen at least one goal to show that they have some fight in them.”
Monsignor McClancy 7, Bishop Ford 1. Matt Sammut had two goals, Stephen Ferguson had a goal and two assists, Ramon Gutierez and Joe Sadowski each had a goal and an assist and Ryan Ferguson and Pat Mulroy added a goal apiece for McClancy (13-1 CHSHL ‘C’), which clinched the regular season division title Saturday at the Abe Stark Rink on Coney Island.
Molloy 6, Christ the King 3. Massi had two goals and LiVecchi, Sean Kearney, Mike Farrell and Sean Murphy all scored one goal apiece for the Stanners Friday at Murray Rink in Yonkers. Johnny Del Rios had a goal and an assist and Ryan Keegan and Lorand Kovacs also scored for Christ the King (6-6-3).
Monsignor McClancy 7, Mount St. Michael 0. Keith Morrice had two goals and three assists, brothers Ryan and Stephen Ferguson had two goals apiece and Sean Rock made 16 saves to earn his second consecutive shutout for the Crusaders last Thursday at the Ice Hutch.
Reach Associate Sports Editor Dylan Butler by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 143.