By Dylan Butler
They haven’t danced around it or purposely avoided mentioning it, like jinxing a goaltender on the verge of a shutout.
No, the Molloy hockey team embraces the idea of finishing the regular season undefeated and took another step toward that goal with a 7-1 win over Christ the King at the Ice Hutch in Mount Vernon Monday afternoon.
“We’ve come this far undefeated already, and to go all the way would be great,” said senior forward Paul LiVecchi.
And as happened in the team’s other 11 wins, the Stanners simply orderly walked off the ice despite having just clinched the CHSHL ‘B’ regular season title, thanks to another blue-collar effort.
“It would be a nice end to the (regular) season. This way the season did mean something,” said Molloy coach Richie Rodgers. “And then the playoffs and it starts all over again.”
With just two games left in the regular season, standing in the way of an undefeated regular season for Molloy (12-0-2) is rival Holy Cross, which is looking to avenge a 4-0 blanking Feb. 6. The teams played to a pair of ties in the other two meetings this season.
“They want to have it even so we’ll see. It should be interesting,” Rodgers said of Thursday’s game, slated for 3:50 p.m. at the Ice Hutch. “It should be a pretty good game.”
But as wonderful as having clinched its second straight division title and the possibility of finishing the regular season undefeated are, it would be a shallow honor if the Stanners were to fall in the ‘B’ semifinals again.
“Considering our team has a lot of seniors, that drive helps us perform better,” LiVecchi said. “We know that we’re not losing in the first round of the playoffs. It’s not an option.”
Jimmy Grogan and LiVecchi staked Molloy to a 2-0 first-period lead, and Mike Carney and Bryan Elfant scored a pair of goals in a three-minute span to give the Stanners a four-goal edge midway through the second period.
Less than a minute later Chris Keegan spoiled Mike Oseback’s shutout attempt with a backhand goal before Chris Francaviglia scored a pair of goals and LiVecchi added his second in the third period to put the game away.
“We could have played better. I don’t think we worked as hard as we’ve been working,” said Christ the King coach Chris Duffy, whose team fell to 6-4-2. “Today we played a little harder in the offensive zone and not as hard in the defensive zone, which kind of hurt us.”
Oseback, a sophomore goalie from Ozone Park, made 31 saves and the Stanners’ defense, which along with the team’s depth has one of the strengths this season, once again played solid.
“We try to limit the shots on goal. That’s the main thing,” said Molloy defenseman Chris Massi. “Just take the guys to the outside and keep them from getting good shots.”
Added Oseback: “It’s great to know that you can have people to back you up if you give up a rebound who will clear it right out of there.”
Holy Cross 9, St. Edmund 3. Chris Will had three goals and one assist and Joey Temperini, Chris Ryan and Will Gill scored two goals apiece for Holy Cross (6-4-3 CHSHL ‘B’) last Thursday at Murray Rink in Yonkers. St. Edmund (3-10-1) was led by Danny Gale, who had two goals and an assist.
McClancy 9, Mount St. Michael 0. Stephen Ferguson had four goals and three assists, Keith Morrice had three goals and three assists, Joe Sadowsky and Pat Mulroy scored a goal apiece and Sean Rock notched a shutout for McClancy (11-1 CHSHL ‘C). Mount St. Michael falls to 3-6-1.
Christ the King 8, Xavier 5. Joey Finocchiaro had two goals and an assist, and Steve Whelan had a goal and two assists for the Royals last Thursday at Murray Rink.
Reach Associate Sports Editor Dylan Butler by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 143.