Calvert Hall was the most dominant ice hockey team in the MIAA A Conference this winter and they put an exclamation point on that effort with a 7-4 victory over two-time defending league champion Archbishop Spalding, Friday night at Piney Orchard Ice Arena.
It was the Cardinals first league title since 2010, but their fourth overall, the second most in the conference, behind the 10 crowns won by Mount St. Joseph.
Calvert Hall rolled out of the gates and carried 5-0 lead going into the third period, seemingly cruising to an easy win. But, back came the Cavaliers.
Spalding was able to score their first goal with 12 minutes left in the game as Sam Paquin was assisted by Matt Doane and Peter Costa, making the game 5-1.
Less than a minute later, Spalding struck again as Adam Beyerlein netted one past the tough CHC goalie Michael Finn to make it 5-2. The goal was assisted by Trent Shanley.
CHC’s Finn, had a busy day in goal, saving 24 shots.
With the Cardinal’s on their heels, the Cavalier’s scored on a scramble in front of the net by Doane, with both Paquin and Costa receiving an assist after both of their shots were saved but followed in by Doane to make it a 5-3 game.
Calvert Hall finally put an end to that run as Costa Pizanis scored his second of the game on a loose puck that went airbound towards the ceiling. When the puck returned to the ice, Pizanis quickly gathered it and shot it through 5-hole (between the goalies legs). Pizanis’s goal gave CHC a 6-3.
As the clock was winding down late in the third period, Spalding’s Paquin gave his team some hope on his break away goal that narrowed the lead to 6-4. He was assisted by Doane.
However, Calvert Hall prevailed as John Raimondi received a pass from Matthew Curtin and netted the clincher.
“It feels great. I wanted this in my freshman year. It is a big deal. It’s a big deal in the locker room,” said Pizanis, who finished with two goals and an assist. “We knew we had to change something up. They were getting back into the game. They did that the last time we played them. We fought back, scored some goals and secured the lead.”
“It feels great. It’s been four years in the making. We started off with a really young team and to finally get one, it feels great,” said Raimondi, a senior. “We basically have had the same team for four years. The majority of the team are seniors and juniors, so we’ve alway been up in the top tier.”
After the Cardinals’ Trey Gauss opened the game with a goal, Pizanis got his first after receiving a long pass from Jack Finn that Pizanis was barely able to keep at his feet. He carried it all the way down with a Cavalier defender on his back before netting it past the Spalding goalie.
Six seconds later, Curtin scored on a pass from Raimondi for CHC’s third unanswered goal in the period.
Calvert Hall made it 4-0, on a short-handed goal by Ryan Dieter, who wristed one past Spalding’s freshman goalie Jake Paprcka. Paprcka replaced senior goalie Thomas Glendenning in the second period, and was able to save 12 CHC shots to keep his team in the game.
Curtain scored again, early in the third period, before Spalding initiated its comeback. Curtain scored on a power-play and was assisted by Pizanis and Tim Blount, putting the Cards up 5-0.
Calvert Hall is graduating seven seniors from their championship roster, while Spalding is graduating six.