By Dylan Butler
The McClancy boys’ hockey team hit the ice for its CHSHL ‘C’ best-of-three semifinal series Sunday at Abe Stark Rink on Coney Island sans head coach Mike Brenneis and practice pucks — both delayed because of an accident on the Belt Parkway.
After a lackluster warm-up, the Crusaders trudged through the opening period with a one-goal lead until Keith Morrice’s wrist shot just beat the final horn at the end of the first period.
The goal revitalized top-seeded McClancy, which scored four goals in the second period en route to a 7-3 win over No. 4 Mount St. Michael.
“The tone of the game is always set by the warm-up. That’s key,” said McClancy goalie Sean Rock. “We were a little cold in the first period, but we skated around a few times and we got used to it. But everyone started out flat.”
Led by freshman Stephen Ferguson, who had three goals and four assists, the Crusaders can advance to the CHSHL ‘C’ championship series with a win in Game 2 Friday night at the Ice Hutch in Mount Vernon.
Second-seeded St. Raymond’s and Bishop Ford meet in the other semifinal series.
“We knew it was only 2-0 after the first period and we should have been beating this team by a lot more,” Ferguson said. “So we just had to pick it up.”
After Ferguson set up Morrice for two first-period goals, McClancy (16-1) broke the game open midway through the second period when Joe Sadowsky and Ferguson scored 24 seconds apart while the teams skated 4-on-4.
Ferguson added two more goals for the natural hat trick, giving the Crusaders a commanding 6-0 lead heading into the third period.
“I think we got our timing back a little bit and got our hands back,” Brenneis said of his team’s play in the second period. “They played a much better second period.”
Peter Cafaro, Michael Scher and Mark Nani scored third-period goals for Mount St. Michael (5-11-1) before Peter Gargano closed out the scoring for McClancy with 59 seconds left in the third.
“I’m happy with the way we finished the third period, that we put a couple points on the board and we realized that we could play with these guys,” said Mount St. Michael coach Jim Clark. “We just need to play well. We just need to do the little things.”
Holy Cross 5, St. Joseph by the Sea 2. Chris Anastasio had two goals and Will Gill, Joe Temperini and Chris Ryan scored for Holy Cross (9-5-3), which outshot St. Joseph by the Sea, 40-11, in the opening game of the CHSHL ‘B’ division semifinal series Saturday at Abe Stark Rink.
Top-seeded Molloy and No. 4 Christ the King meet in the other semifinal series.
McClancy 7, Spellman 3. After falling behind, 2-0, in the first period, Sadowsky scored and Ferguson added five goals, including four straight for McClancy Friday at the Ice Hutch. Matt Sammut also scored for the Crusaders, which blanked Bishop Ford last Thursday on goals by Sadowsky, Ramon Gutierez, Patrick Mulroy and Ferguson.
Reach Associate Sports Editor Dylan Butler by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 143.