Weekly Feature



2011-02-16 / Sports

St. Joe’s goes unbeaten during busy week

Boys Hockey


St. Joe’s Eric Paradowski gestures to the crowd after scoring a goal versus Williamsville North to tie the game at 1 in the second period Thursday at the Northtown Center. St. Joe’s came back again in the third period to tie the Spartans, 2-2. Photo by Scott Schild Purchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com St. Joe’s Eric Paradowski gestures to the crowd after scoring a goal versus Williamsville North to tie the game at 1 in the second period Thursday at the Northtown Center. St. Joe’s came back again in the third period to tie the Spartans, 2-2. Photo by Scott Schild Purchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com Last week was a busy and memorable one for the St. Joe’s Marauders’ hockey team. The Marauders won their sixth game in a row by defeating Niagara-Wheatfield on Wednesday; tied the top large school in Federation, the Williamsville North Spartans, on Thursday; and then went east and won the Massena High School Invitational Tournament.

St. Joe’s made it six wins in a row and 11 wins in the last 12 games Wednesday night by defeating Niagara-Wheatfield, 4-1, at the Northtown Center in Amherst. Prior to the game, the Marauders honored seniors Rob Finn, Ryan Walerowicz and Rob Neff for their contributions to the St. Joe’s hockey program.

Leading the way for St. Joe’s in the game was junior Tyler Mills, who had two goals and an assist. Finn and junior Connor Hagner each had two assists.

Sophomore Kyle Moslow opened the scoring six minutes into the game, when sophomore Zach Klapp fed him the puck. Moslow ripped a wrist shot right under the crossbar to give St. Joe’s an early 1-0 lead. After Wheatfield tied the game, sophomore Eric Paradowski made it 2-1 when he scored a very similar goal on a wrist shot just over the goalie’s shoulder and under the crossbar. Mills made it 3-1 when he picked up the rebound off Hagner’s shot and buried it. The prettiest goal of the game was Mills’ second, when he beat his defensemen and the goalie on dekes to give St. Joe’s the commanding 4-1 lead with five minutes remaining in the game.

Junior Marc Mallare played well in the nets, recording 26 saves on 27 shots.

“It was a nice win for our hockey team,” St. Joe’s head coach Rich Crozier said. “They beat us twice last season, and to beat them twice this year is quite the accomplishment. I was especially impressed with Mills’ play tonight. He had an outstanding game on both sides of the puck, offensively and defensively.”

St. Joe’s extended its unbeaten streak to seven games and 12 out of their last 13 with a hard-fought, 2-2 tie against Williamsville North Thursday night at the Northtown Center in Amherst.

After falling behind 1-0 in the first, Paradowski tied the game at 1 when he found a loose puck in the slot and fired it just under the crossbar. Juniors Mills and Tyler Crawford recorded assists. Williamsville North took a 2-1 lead into the third period until Finn answered the bell with only three minutes remaining in the game. Junior Aaron Iannello put a hard wrist shot on net. Finn followed strong to the net and banged home the rebound to tie the game at 2.

“What a big goal for our hockey team and for Rob personally,” Crozier said. “To see a senior get the game-tying goal is quite a thrill. Rob works incredibly hard whenever he is on the ice and he deserves to be the hero.”

Despite out-chancing North in regulation and overtime, the game ended in a tie. Junior Marc Mallare played well in the nets, recording 22 saves on 24 shots.

St. Joe’s then traveled to play in the Massena Tournament. On Saturday, the Marauders defeated Section X’s Salmon River, 4-2, and on Sunday they defeated host Massena Central, the top team in Section X, 3-1. The two victories give St. Joe’s 20 on the season and stretch their unbeaten streak to nine games. Leading the way for the Marauders was junior goaltender Mallare, the tournament MVP. Finn and Iannello also received player of the game honors during the weekend.

In Saturday’s 4-2 victory over Salmon River, St. Joe’s had to battle back twice before taking the lead in the third period. Finn opened the scoring short-handed when he knocked a loose puck into the goal.

After falling behind, 2-1, Mills scored one of his two goals during the weekend on the power play to tie the game. Early into the third, junior Matt Berke scored the game winner on a breakaway. Paradowski iced the game to give the Marauders a 4-2 win. Junior goalie Connor Stockman played well in the nets, recording 16 saves.

In Sunday’s championship triumph, St. Joe’s took an early lead when junior Will Mangione found a loose puck in front and fired it home. After the Red Raiders tied it, the Marauders responded with six minutes left in the game, when Mills snipped a wrist shot top corner after an excellent shift from his line. Klapp iced the game late in the third when he won a battle for the puck, walked out of the corner and scored. Mallare played very well in the net, recording 21 saves.

“What a great tournament to top off a fantastic week for our hockey team,” Crozier said. “We are playing our best hockey of the season right now. To travel six hours on the bus, play four games in five days and to walk away with a championship is quite an accomplishment for our team. I’m proud of these young men. They are incredible kids, and I’m blessed to get to lead such a talented group.”

Next up for St. Joe’s is the private school semifinal playoff on Sunday evening at 5 p.m. at Buffalo State College. The Marauders finished the season as the number one seed and will face the winner of the Canisius-St. Mary’s game on Wednesday.

“I expect it will be Canisius, and if it is, we will have our hands full,” Crozier said. “Not only will it be our third time this season having to beat them, they are also our school’s biggest rival. Throw the records out the window: anytime St. Joe’s and Canisius play in anything, it’s a big game. The fact that the game is for a trip to the finals makes it even more important.”

Meanwhile, both Kenmore East and Kenmore West have secured byes into the quarterfinals of the Federation small school playoffs. Both teams will play on Sunday afternoon at the Northtown Center in Amherst.

Kenmore East will be the number three seed, as they finished the regular season with an 11-3 record. Kenmore East’s final regular season tune-up was a 14-1 blowout over St. Mary’s on Thursday. Steve Gentner was the star as he had four goals and three assists, a seven-point night. Don Battista also had four goals, all in the first period, and added two assists to finish with six points. The Bulldogs will play at 3 p.m. Sunday at the Northtown Center.

Kenmore West will be the fourth seed and will play at 1 p.m. Sunday. On Thursday, the Blue Devils went to Riverside Park and scored a 3-2 overtime victory over Bishop Timon. William Trimper netted the overtime winner, assisted by Mike Coyne, with 1:52 left in the extra session.

The Blue Devils closed out their regular season with a 5-3 loss to Williamsville East, the top seed in small school Federation, on Saturday at the Northtown Center. Trimper, Billy Moore and Eric Flores had goal in the second period to tie the game at 2. However, Matt Territo and Matt Notaro scored in the third period to win it for the Flames.

(Reporter Mike Migliore contributed to this article.)

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