Weekly Feature



2017-03-01 / Sports

St. Joe’s wins Niagara Cup with shutout of Canisius

Sports Reporter
TAYLOR NIGRELLI


Luke Pierce is the first to congratulate St. Joe’s goalie Donovan Boshier following his shutout performance in the Marauders’ 4-0 Federation Catholic Schools championship-game victory over rival Canisius Monday at the KeyBank Center. 
Photo by Jason NadolinskiPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com Luke Pierce is the first to congratulate St. Joe’s goalie Donovan Boshier following his shutout performance in the Marauders’ 4-0 Federation Catholic Schools championship-game victory over rival Canisius Monday at the KeyBank Center. Photo by Jason NadolinskiPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com Scoring a game-winning goal in a championship game is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Unless you’re Jack Lalley, that is. The overtime hero of St. Joe’s first-ever Monsignor

Martin lacrosse title over Canisius last spring scored the first two goals of the Marauders 4-0 win over the Crusaders in the Niagara Cup Championship hockey competition Monday. The senior was named the MVP of the game.

“It’s crazy, both against Canisius too,” Lalley said. “It’s what everybody dreams about. My dad went to St. Joe’s — he would always bring me to games when I was a kid. When the league was combined, we’d go to watch them play against Williamsville North in the championships. I always wanted to be out there playing. The win is what we wanted, but scoring the game-winning goal is even better. I can’t even describe it.”

Lalley’s goals both came in the first period and both on the power play. The first came with 6:09 remaining, from about 20 feet out, with assists coming from Michael Greco and Alex Zuchlewski. The second came about three minutes later, with Zuchlewski and Jeremy Ienco getting the assists. The goals sent the team into the intermission with a 2-0 lead. St. Joe’s did not let up, as Luke Pierce scored 28 seconds into the second with assists from Jordan Weigand and Seth Glanowski.

“We just talked about it in the locker room: it’s a brand new game — we want to win the period,” St. Joe’s Coach Rich Crozier said. “To get the goal on the first shift is great. We had a really nice start to the period. I could tell it was deflating for them.”

The St. Joe’s defense then effectively shut down the Crusaders for the rest of the second period. Canisius had the puck quite a bit but could not get a quality chance. That effort continued into the second period.

“A lot of people talk about our offensive game, but we’ve been focusing on defense,” Crozier said. “We’re a very strong defensive team. So we get a three-goal lead and I told the guys in the locker room, ‘They’re going to have to score four goals to beat us.’ All of them were hemming and hawing in the room about getting more goals. We kind of shot that down and said, ‘Hey, we’re going to focus on defense, we’re going to play a strong defensive game, we’re going to have a strong back-check.’ For the most part, we did that. So I’m really proud of them for that.

Glanowski tallied the final St. Joe’s goal with just over six minutes left in the third. Greco and Mark Gilbert got the assists. The goal essentially sealed what was already almost assuredly a St. Joe’s win. The Marauder defense continued to clamp down on the Canisius offense until the final horn blew and the champions poured out onto the ice.

“This is a tough game for us,” Crozier said. “They’re our biggest rival. I think the records go out the door. I think it was really important for us to state our claim as being a championship team. A dominant performance is just what the doctor ordered.”

St. Joe’s will now move on to the Catholic State Championship, where they will take on St. Anthony’s of Long Island in a rematch of last year’s title game. The Friars are a tough foe, sporting an 18-1 record on the year.

“They’re obviously a very good team. They’re like 18-1,” Crozier said. “We just have to play our game and keep to our system. All the seniors want to contribute in their last game.”

Winning a state title wouldn’t just be the cherry on top of a stellar St. Joe’s season. It has been the team’s stated goal since the first practice of the season.

“It’s going to be a difficult game,” Crozier said. “Every time we have played them, it has been tough. Our plan is we’re going to enjoy this tonight, but we’re right back on the ice tomorrow. I expect it to be a great hockey game. My team will need to play its best. We’re going to need a similar performancetotonight,maybe even a little bit better to be state champions. I’m excited. It’s going to be a great game.”

email: tnigrelli@beenews.com

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