Weekly Feature

2015-12-09 / Sports

Marauders hockey out to return to top of Monsignor Martin

by LEVI TRIMBLE Reporter

The St. Joe’s Marauders celebrate a goal during the Nov. 30 Federation season opener against Lancaster at Harbor Center. St. Joe’s is 3-1 to start the year with their only loss coming in a tournament in Saratoga Springs.Photo by Patrick McPartlandPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com

The St. Joe’s Marauders celebrate a goal during the Nov. 30 Federation season opener against Lancaster at Harbor Center. St. Joe’s is 3-1 to start the year with their only loss coming in a tournament in Saratoga Springs.

Photo by Patrick McPartlandPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com The Marauders of St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute look to make big steps and return to the top of Western New York Catholic Hockey.

Last year, the Marauders lost in a close final game, losing 2-1 to Canisius in the finals at First Niagara Center.

This year, despite losing top goalie Ben Higgins and top defenseman Anthony Pontello to graduation, the Marauders look to climb back on top with their strong offense and a new set of core players ready to take this Marauders team into the future.

Starting in goal this year will be Dan Mikolajczak. Mikolajczak is a sophomore and new to the team. He replaces Higgins who was voted the team MVP last season.

Head coach Richard Crozier has been proud of the young goalie, saying that his 2-0 record on this young season has been due to his teams good performance but also on his skills between the pipes.

The Marauders will look to get scoring from several players. Jeremy Ienco, who Crozier has described as a an all-around player, will lead the offense.

Helping him out will be forwards Trevor Conschafter and Nicholas Carbone.

This year’s captain is August Cudek. Cudek, who goes by Auggie, steps into the role that Pontello left open as the top defender. Cudek will make a strong push, though he lacks the size that Pontello brought.

Cudek will jump into the play and has a solid shot from the point.

“Auggie skates well with the puck,” said Crozier. “He is a good passer and moves the puck well.”

Assisting him as a captain is forward Jack Attea. Attea, a center, will provide a lot of two-way skill to the roster and will be a valuable player in the open ice.

Griffin LoVallo will play an important role on the offense. He is one of the top forwards and will use his size and speed to his advantage.

Defenseman Nick Whaler will also be an impact player for the Marauders.

“Nick skates really well with the puck. He plays both ends really well,” said Crozier. “We will use him in a number of key situations throughout the year, including powerplay and on the penalty kill.”

The Marauders have great speed on the roster coming from all positions and a solid back line. It should be tough for players across the league to match up with them in federation play.

Goalie play will develop as the the team’s young goalies step up with experience.

“Given the loss of 11 seniors from last year’s roster, our team this season will have many new faces. We look for our newest members to have a smooth transition, so that we can reach our goal of winning a 10th New York State Catholic Championship,” said Crozier. “The message from our coaching staff to our players is quite simple: Each and every time we step on the ice, we are the hardest working team, no exceptions. No one ever outworks us.”

However, after a 3-1 start on the year, the Marauders know they have a lot to work on.

“We just have to be stronger in front of our net. We have to protect our goalie and we lost some battles in front,” said Crozier. “I think we just have to stick with the game plan. The game plan is to be the hardest working team every time we step out on the ice. We never want to be outworked. It’s a difficult thing to three peat. We proved that. It comes down to one game and for whatever reason it wasn’t meant to be last year. But, I am confident that we have the winning formula. We don’t need to change a lot. We continue to work hard and obviously we have to peak at the right time. I think that our chances are as good as any other team’s.”

The Marauders earned its first victory with a 5-2 comeback victory Nov. 30 over Lancaster at HarborCenter.

Leading the way for the Marauders was senior Max McArthur with a hat trick. Junior Trevor Conshafter scored a goal and an assist, while the sophomore goaltender Mikolajczak picked up the win in his first start recording 26 saves.

After giving up two goals in the first period St. Joe’s regrouped and came out with a strong performance to start the second. Midway through the period McArthur scored his first goal of the night with the assists going to Michael Greco and senior Jonathan Tucker. Then with 3 minutes reaming in the second period, Conschafter buried a rebound on the powerplay. The crafty forward parked himself next to the Lancaster net and found the loose puck to make the score 2-2.

Early in the third period, senior Nash Braun put the Marauders ahead for good when he jammed in the puck after going hard to the net. Conschafter assisted on Braun’s tally. With nine minutes remaining in the game, McArthur scored his second goal of the contest with the assist going to Lalley making the score 4-2 Marauders. Late in the contest, McArthur completed the hat trick on the powerplay with the assists going to Michael Greco and Lalley.

St. Joe’s improved its record to 2-0 with a 3-1 victory over Niagara Wheatfield at the Northtown Center in Amherst on Thursday evening. Eight different Marauders recorded points in the important league victory. Mikolajczak picked up the win recording 13 saves.

St. Joe’s got on the board first when junior, Jordan Weigand scored less than five minutes into the game. Junior, line mate Nathan Burke's shot missed the net, but Weigand gathered up the loose puck and fired it into the net to give the Marauders a 1-0 lead. After Niagara Wheatfield tied the game at one, the Marauders struck with 1:24 left in the second. Senior, Jack Attea scored the game winning goal on the power play. Carbone fed Attea the puck off of a beautiful give and go play. Attea's quick one timer found the back of the net giving the Marauders the 2-1 lead. Spencer Frome also assisted on the Attea tally.

St. Joe’s then traveled to Saratoga Springs over the weekend for the 15th annual Don Kauth Invitational Tournament. The team went 1-1, improving their overall record to 3 -1. On Friday evening, the Marauders defeated Shenendehowa,

5-1. On Saturday, a tired Marauders team, playing their third game in three days, were defeated by host Saratoga 4-2.

On Friday evening the Marauders were led by Herlan with a goal and an assist. Tim Zatkos earned his first Federation victory in goal recording 15 saves.

In the first period, junior Michael Greco was reward when he scored after skating hard to the net. McArthur recorded the assist making the score 1-0 in favor of St. Joe's. With three minutes remaining in the first period, Frome scored to put the Marauders up 2-0. Iannello was credited with the loan assist.

With two minutes remaining in the second, junior Mark Gilbert put St. Joe's up 3-1 with the assists going to junior Nate Berke and Herlan.

The third period was all St. Joe’s. With six minutes remaining Herlan scored to make the score 4 to 1 beating the Shenendehowa goalie with the assists going to senior Nash Braun and junior Jack Lalley. Finally, with three minutes remaining in the third, senior Jack Attea made the score 5-1 off of a beautiful pass from senior Nicholas Carbone. Junior Trevor Conshafter also assisted.

Senior Tim Zatkos was great in net recording his first win of the season. The Marauders outshot Shenendehowa 33 to 16.

On Saturday afternoon, St. Joe's played Saratoga High School where the Marauders suffered their first loss of the season by a score of 4-2.

Unfortunately, Saratoga would score four unanswered. The St. Joe's offense was unable to beat the Saratoga goalie until under a minute remaining in the game when Jack Lalley picked up a rebound in front and scored. Attea assisted on the Lalley goal. The Marauders outshot Saratoga 28 to 14 in the game.

St Joe's will next play last year’s Division 1 State Champions, Mc- Quaid on Saturday. Face off is set for 12:00 p.m. at the Canandaigua Ice rink. On Monday, they take on school rival Canisius at 6:00 p.m. at the Harbor Center in downtown Buffalo.

email: ltrimble@beenews.com

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