Stepinac skates past Iona Prep
Harold Gutmann • The Journal News • January 8, 2008
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YONKERS - Iona Prep was in the process of rolling through Stepinac like it had the rest of the Catholic High School Hockey League. But the Crusaders finally made their stand last night, and the CHSHL now looks a lot more interesting.
Stepinac scored four unanswered goals in the final 17 minutes to defeat the Gaels 4-2 at Murray Skating Rink, giving Iona Prep its first league loss just three nights after it had beaten Stepinac 7-3.
The winning goal came from sophomore Zach Paisley, a West Harrison resident who converted a pass from Rocco Miano with 8:26 left. Paisley had just been called up from the junior varsity before Friday night's game against Iona Prep (11-3-1, 10-1-1).
"I wasn't expecting to come up. It's a privilege," Paisley said. "They're a big team. It's a big accomplishment. I'm just glad to be a part of it."
"We were rolling with eight forwards. It was a little bit taxing toward the end of the game, and after some consideration, we thought we'd bring him up," Stepinac coach Pat Scanlon said. "I guess you look smart doing it tonight."
Two minutes earlier, the Crusaders (8-5-1, 6-2-1) had tied the score at 2-2 on a 5-on-3 power play. A.J. Datino found Steven Yankowski cutting toward the goal, and the defenseman roofed the shot with 10:42 left.
"We were down 2-0, but that encouraged us more, I think, because we knew we'd be the team to beat if we beat Iona," said Yankowski, a Tuckahoe resident.
The Crusaders had a 5-on-3 because of a bench penalty on Iona Prep, which led to Tim Turnbull's first ejection in his four years as head coach. He will miss the next two league games, both against Chaminade, though he should be available for tonight's game at Suffern.
Nickolas Odoardi finished the scoring with 4:35 to play when he skated into the zone and ripped a slap shot past Stefan DiMario (23 saves), but the suspense was far from over. With 3:26 left, the teams got into an altercation in front of the Stepinac net.
A player on each team received a 10-minute misconduct, and Crusaders goalie Joe Reagan (24 saves) received a four-minute roughing penalty for throwing his gloves and charging into the skirmish. Despite being down two men for 2:39, the Crusaders held on.
"I'm proud to say it can be a trait of this team. We get down and we keep fighting," Scanlon said. "We were down 6-0 in the last game and we didn't give up, and our mind-set didn't waver, and I'm very proud of the boys for that."
Except for a 3-3 tie against Monsignor Farrell, the Gaels had won its previous 10 league games by at least three goals.
"We didn't seem to be on our game for most of the night, but so far this year, even when we haven't played well, outside of the Rye Country Day game, we've found ways to win," Turnbull said. "Tonight seemed like it again, but the penalties in the third period became too much for us to overcome."
Reach Harold Gutmann at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the hockey blog at highschoolsticking.lohudblogs.com.