“WHATEVER IT TAKES”
THE VARSITY WINTER SPORTS PREVIEW FACES OFF WITH A LOOK AT THE WILDCATS' DEFENDING STATE CHAMPION ICE HOCKEY TEAM.
COACH O'ROURKE AND HIS 2010-11 MEN OF THE ICE WELCOME THE CHALLENGES, AS THE 'CATS ARE THE TARGET GAME ON EVERY OPPONENT'S SCHEDULE.
RECORD-SETTING JUNIOR FORWARD PADDY SPELLACY AND GRITTY SENIORS PETE BOBULSKY AND KEVIN JOSEPH WILL CAPTAIN ANOTHER SKILLED AND SAVVY TEAM.
POSTED ON 11/18/10 AT 1:22 A.M.
By Eddie Dwyer
COPYRIGHT, November 2010
Following another intense practice on the ice inside Brooklyn's John M. Coyne Recreation Center, Saint Ignatius head coach Pat O'Rourke '90 and junior forwards Paddy Spellacy and Liam Geither talked about their “whatever it takes” approach to a new hockey season.
“There's a lot of things that go into that,” said Coach O'Rourke of his team's motto for this winter, a season that will see the Wildcats skate in defense of their record-setting, state-championship run of 2009-10. “I watch all kinds of sports and you watch and think, why didn't the '85 Bears repeat (as Super Bowl champions)? What is so hard about repeating? And it seems like the common denominator, pro, college, whatever, is that egos get in the way.
“In the pros, someone wants a new contract, so they leave the team. Obviously, that's not the case here. But our biggest enemy might be ourselves this year. We don't want to have any kind of egos. We have to stay humble and keep working hard.
“It's not going to come easy, people are not going to roll over for us,” Coach O'Rourke continued. “In fact, it's going to be the opposite. So if the coach asks you to play a certain role, then you got to do whatever it takes. That's what you call a team, and they have been very good about it so far.”
Knowing and, in many ways, relishing the fact that a target is on their backs this winter, are the gifted and good-natured Spellacy and Geither.
Spellacy, one of the premier players in Ohio and the Midwest, is coming off a sophomore season in which he totaled a school-best 43 goals, including the pivotal score in the 4-1 state-championship victory over Sylvania Northview. Paddy also had new single-season program highs of 35 assists and 78 points. Those efforts earned him the Wildcats' prestigious “Plus-Minus” Award.
“Anytime you can be the defending state champs and have a target on your back, you have to like that,” said Spellacy, whose dad, Kevin, still holds the program's record for goals in a game with six against Normandy in 1980. “With the top teams coming after us, you can't have a bad day. It just pushes us to work harder.”
Geither, who smiles as easily as he flies around the ice, concurs with Spellacy.
“Getting a target on your back is great, that means you must have done something good,” said the young man who scored four goals in the two district games last season, including the game-winner in the dramatic 2-1, sudden-victory overtime triumph over Padua in the district championship game at Brooklyn. "Winning a state championship was big and it's really going to test us this season. We're always going to have to play on our A game.”
Geither, who honed his game in the summer by playing with his Saint Ignatius teammates, said he worked on his shot in the off-season and is confident he has improved it.
Coming off one of the best individual seasons in the history of area high school hockey, Spellacy is far from satisfied.
Playing in the Saint Ignatius summer league and for Team Cleveland 's traveling program in the fall, Spellacy said his emphasis in the preseason has been on the “D Zone,” picking up a guy in the D Zone and helping the defense as a center in front of the net and behind the net – clearing the pucks out.
“Some people think I'm only in the offensive zone,” said Spellacy. “I want to show them I'm a good defensive player, too, a complete player.
“Our other motto is doing what you do best. I think those things (what you do best and whatever it takes) are intertwined. You know, do whatever you can do to help the team go farther.”
Coach O'Rourke, who became the Wildcats' head varsity coach in 2005, after guiding the junior varsity for seven seasons, emphasized that people don't realize how much Saint Ignatius graduated from last season's school-best 31-7-3 mark.
Among those graduates who played crucial roles in the state-title performance were forward Mike Wells (27 goals, 32 assists), last season's co-Offensive MVP with Spellacy, and defensive MVPs Sam Nader and Chris Knoth.
“The other guys that we lost were probably unheralded, but they were those kind of character guys that helped us foster the chemistry,” O'Rourke said. “We've lost seven out of 20 (from last season), so that's a significant chunk.''
Coach O'Rourke and his staff will be bringing along a lot of younger players and will rely on a big junior class for leadership, especially with Spellacy as a captain, the talented and energetic Michael Abood returning as one of the igniters on defense and Colton Riemenschneider continuing to show his promise at forward.
The 2010-11 'Cats will have only four seniors, headed by captains Pete Bobulsky (a defensive mainstay and Coaches Cup honoree) and Kevin Joseph (a forward with a motor that never quits), and goalie Josh Potts, who stopped 16 of 17 shots in the state championship game and earned the team's Most Improved Player award last winter. Seasoned junior Matt Kovesdy also returns in goal.
“We also have a kid that you're going to hear about named Miles McQuinn,” said Coach O'Rourke. “He was a freshman at Saint Ignatius last year, but he was playing for the Cleveland Barons organization. He's super and he's actually on the line with Liam (Geither) and Colton (Riemenschneider), and Paddy is playing on the line with Michael Abood, where we're trying to find a right wing.”
After Saint Ignatius won its first state ice hockey championship in 2000, some lean years set in and Coach O' Rourke admitted that he had to start over with the program.
“We had been to the heights 10 years ago, but then we were coming in third place, fourth place and fifth place, so we wanted to come in and revamp it a little bit,” O'Rourke said. “And we had to blow it up to do so, it wasn't easy.
“But I think we had the right idea. We're trying to build around good people, good students, good character guys. They're certainly good players, but they're good kids who get along so well. That was the idea, and we knew at Ignatius we could attract that kind of player and student.
“That was the plan, and I think it's doing okay so far.”
A former MVP in hockey for the Wildcats and a 1989 Plain Dealer Player of the Week, Coach O'Rourke emphasized that probably seven of the top teams in the state are from this area. Among O'Rourke's teams to watch are Padua, University School, St. Edward, Gilmour Academy, Lake Catholic, Walsh Jesuit, Strongsville and Holy Name.
The 'Cats will open their season in the Jesuit Cup at Kent State University over Thanksgiving Weekend, where they will face St. Xavier, St. John's Jesuit and Walsh Jesuit. The annual pre-Christmas match up with St. Edward will be on Dec. 11 in Quicken Loans Arena at 4:30 p.m., and the Saint Ignatius Christmas Tournament will be Dec. 27-29 at the Brooklyn rink. Wildcats Athletic Director Rory Fitzpatrick '88 strongly recommends that fans buy their tickets for the St. Edward game in advance at the Saint Ignatius Athletic Office.
The highlight game of the Christmas Tournament will be another face off with highly touted Sylvania Northview on Dec. 28th at 7 p.m.
POSTED ON 11/27/10.
*NOTE: SCORING PROVIDED BY THE SAINT IGNATIUS HOCKEY WEBSITE.
Saint Ignatius' defending state champion hockey team continued to make itself at home on the ice at Kent State University, as Coach Pat O'Rourke's Wildcats skated and shot their way into the championship game of the annual Jesuit Cup by defeating Toledo St. John's Jesuit and Walsh Jesuit on Saturday.
After dominating Cincinnati St. Xavier, 10-0, in Friday night's opener at Kent, Saint Ignatius rode two goals by Miles McQuinn and scores by Colton Riemenschneider and Mike Avdey to a 4-1 victory over the Titans from St. John's Jesuit. Senior goalie Josh Potts stopped 28 of 29 shots.
McQuinn, a sophomore whose skills were pointed out by Coach O'Rourke '90 in the corner's preseason preview, added to his big day with two more goals in the 5-0 triumph over Walsh Jesuit.
Also providing lamp lighters against the Warriors were Captain Paddy Spellacy, Riemenschneider and Liam Geither.
McQuinn has started the season with three consecutive two-goal games, Spellacy has scored four times off the Kent ice and Geither will enter Sunday's championship game with three goals on the young season.
The championship game will feature a rematch with St. John's at 1:30 p.m.
WILDCATS GO 3-1 IN THE JESUIT TOURNAMENT.
POSTED ON 11/28/10.
*NOTE: SCORING PROVIDED BY THE SAINT IGNATIUS HOCKEY WEBSITE.
Saint Ignatius was defeated by Toledo St. John's Jesuit, 4-2, in the championship final of the annual Ohio Jesuit Cup Hockey Tournament at the Kent State Ice Arena on Sunday.
In avenging Saturday's 4-1 loss to the Wildcats, the Titans scored one of their decisive goals against an empty net. Both teams are 3-1 on the young season.
Sophomore Miles McQuinn scored both of Saint Ignatius' goals and now has eight lamp lighters in four games.
The Wildcats' Sports Information Department reports that Saint Ignatius hockey coach Pat O'Rourke '90 reached a milestone during the Jesuit Tournament by becoming the program's leader in career victories with 136. O'Rourke is in his seventh season as head coach.
'CATS ADVANCE TO THE JESUIT CUP CHAMPIONSHIP GAME, AS MILES MCQUINN HAS HIMSELF A DAY
MIKE SVETINA GARNERS FIRST-TEAM ALL-OHIO HONORS.
POSTED BY EDDIE DWYER ON 11/29/10 AT 6:37 P.M.
Congratulations go out to Saint Ignatius junior safety Mike Svetina for earning first-team honors on the 2010 Associated Press Division I All-Ohio high school football team.
The 6-foot-2, 210-pound Svetina was recognized for his outstanding fall, which saw him put up impressive numbers against a schedule that featured five OHSAA playoff qualifiers, including big-school state finalist St. Edward (14-0) and Division II state semifinalist Lake Catholic (12-2), and a game against defending national champion Don Bosco Prep (11-0) out of Ramsey, New Jersey.
In 10 games, Mike was in on 163 tackles, including an eye-popping 95 solos. He made nine stops behind the line of scrimmage, forced two fumbles, had two sacks, three quarterback hurries, two quarterback hits, blocked a kick and came up with three interceptions.
Earlier this month, Mike was also honored as a first-team selection on the All-Northeast Lakes District team. He was joined on the All-NE Lakes team by second-team picks Tyler Kette (senior linebacker) and Mike Ramos (senior offensive guard) and special mentions David Joseph (senior wideout/kick returner), Tim Shenk (junior kicker) and Jack Corrigan (senior center).
Again, congratulations to Mike, his family, Coach Chuck Kyle '69, Assistant Coach Bryan Massinen '98 and the entire Wildcats defensive staff.
THE WILDCATS' HOCKEY TEAM IMPROVED TO 4-1 BY DEFEATING LAKE CATHOLIC, 4-1, IN WEDNESDAY NIGHT'S RED NORTH OPENER AT THE MENTOR CIVIC ICE ARENA.
COACH PAT O'ROURKE'S DEFENDING STATE CHAMPIONS WILL ENTER THE GILMOUR VARSITY CLASSIC (THURSDAY THROUGH SATURDAY) HAVING OUTSCORED THEIR OPPONENTS, 25-6.
PROVIDING THE LAMP LIGHTERS AGAINST THE COUGARS WERE COLTON RIEMENSCHNEIDER, LIAM GEITHER, MILES MCQUINN AND CAPTAIN PADDY SPELLACY. GOALIE JOSH POTTS STOPPED 27 OF 28 SHOTS.
IN AN UPDATED HOCKEY SCORE FROM THURSDAY, 12/2/10, THE LANCERS FROM GILMOUR ACADEMY DEFEATED THE WILDCATS, 4-1, IN THE OPENING ROUND OF THE GILMOUR VARSITY CLASSIC.
SAINT IGNATIUS (4-2) IS SCHEDULED TO PLAY NEW TRIER FROM ILLINOIS DURING FRIDAY NIGHT'S SECOND ROUND. THE WILDCATS' HOCKEY WEBSITE LISTS FRIDAY'S GAME AS A 9 P.M. START.
ACCORDING TO THE SCHEDULE, SAINT IGNATIUS WILL HAVE A QUICK TURNAROUND. THE WEBSITE (AS OF LATE FRIDAY NIGHT) HAS THE 'CATS TAKING ON GILMOUR AGAIN ON SATURDAY MORNING AT 9:30. PLEASE CHECK THE SAINT IGNATIUS OR GILMOUR WEBSITE BEFORE MAKING THE EARLY SATURDAY MORNING TRIP. THE GAME MIGHT BE SWITCHED TO 1 P.M.
SAINT IGNATIUS WILL CLOSE OUT THE TOURNAMENT WITH ANOTHER MATCH UP WITH NEW TRIER ON SATURDAY AT 8:30 P.M.
'CATS' ICERS GO 2-2 IN THE GILMOUR TOURNAMENT
For the second time in three days, Saint Ignatius was defeated by Gilmour Academy in the Gilmour Varsity Classic Hockey Tournament. The Lancers, who came away with a 4-1 victory over the 'Cats in Thursday's opening round, skated to a 3-1 W on Saturday. Standout junior forward and captain Paddy Spellacy tallied Saint Ignatius' goal.
The Wildcats (6-3) rebounded, however, and went on to blank New Trier out of Illinois, 6-0, on Saturday night.
In defeating New Trier for the second time in 24 hours, Saint Ignatius got two-goal performances from Spellacy and junior defender Will Smith. Paddy now has 11 goals on the young season, including six in the Gilmour Tournament.
Also lighting the lamp against New Trier were senior forward Kevin Joseph and junior forward Eamonn Walsh. Junior goalie Matt Kovesdy stopped 17 shots en route to the shutout.
THE INAUGURAL “MONSTER CUP” GOES TO SAINT IGNATIUS. MORE IMPORTANTLY, SO DOES A 3-0 MARK IN THE HIGHLY COMPETITIVE RED NORTH DIVISION.
HOCKEY POSTED ON 12/12/10 AT 3:17 A.M.
By Eddie Dwyer
Copyright, December 2010
It is obvious Saint Ignatius' sophomore forward Miles McQuinn is a very gifted hockey player.
What also became clear during Saturday's post-game interviews is how right-to-the-point he is.
When asked by an area reporter why he decided to join his high school team after playing for the Barons' organization last season, McQuinn talked about wanting to do it for the 1,400 kids at Saint Ignatius.
“Obviously the hockey team won states last year and we want to go back and do it again this year,” he said. “Whatever it takes to get the job done. We're just going to take it game by game.”
McQuinn and his teammates did what it took and more on Saturday evening, as they shot and skated their way past rival St. Edward, 4-1, on the home ice of the Lake Erie Monsters in Quicken Loans Arena.
In capping a weekend that also saw them shutout Walsh Jesuit, 3-0, on Friday night, the Wildcats improved to 8-3 overall and 3-0 in the Red North Division.
With the victory over St. Edward, the 'Cats were also presented the inaugural “Monster Cup” from the Lake Erie organization.
“They just played hard and played as a team,” said Saint Ignatius' Pat O'Rourke '90, who is the most successful coach in terms of overall victories in Wildcats hockey history. “Everybody stay positive, that was the message today. If you get down a goal, or something like that, it doesn't matter.
“We try to do that, be unflappable,” O'Rourke continued. “Our slogan is 'Whatever it Takes.' So if it takes coming back from a two-goal deficit or protecting a lead, that is the message – let's stay together for 45 minutes, shift by shift. And when we do that, we're very hard to beat.”
The Wildcats made it hard on the Eagles (6-3, 2-1) at both ends of the ice as they got some gritty saves by senior goalie Josh Potts, including several of the glove variety.
On the offensive end, Saint Ignatius stunned the Eagles with two first-period goals that light the lamp within 12 seconds of each other.
McQuinn did the honors by scoring his team-leading 15th goal at the 11:28 mark and junior forward Colton Riemenschneider struck at 11:40 off a picture-perfect assist from senior forward and co-captain Kevin Joseph.
“I saw (Liam) Geither going back door. I wanted to shoot it off the goalie's pads to him,” said McQuinn of the first of his two goals on the evening. “Fortunately for me, it just ended up going in the net. A goal's a goal.”
It was more of the same pressure in the second period.
After a slashing penalty on St. Edward, the Wildcats were awarded a penalty shot.
McQuinn skated with authority down the ice and beat the goalie for his 16th lamp lighter of the season and his fifth goal in less than 24 hours. He had the hat trick against Walsh on Friday night.
“Well, it's a pressure situation,” McQuinn said of the penalty shot. “We were up and I just wanted to get us another goal to make the spread even bigger and give our team more leeway.”
And Saint Ignatius took advantage of that freedom of action and pushed its lead to 4-0 on a goal by Joseph off some workmanlike and sweet assists by junior captain Paddy Spellacy and Riemenschneider.
St. Edward made it 4-1 on a goal by sophomore forward Gabe Lampron off an assist from junior forward Nick Crosby with 13:14 gone in the second period and, after a third period that featured some spirited checking, the 'Cats skated away with the victory.
In referring to the fact that he has special young men, not just talented hockey players, Coach O'Rourke pointed out that some of the Wildcats were working with the kids in Special Olympics on Saturday morning at Winterhurst Ice Rink in Lakewood.
“The fact that they had a good game (Friday) night that was kind of late and get up in the morning, it continues to impress me,” Coach O'Rourke said. “That's what we're trying to do, character people with talent. Yeah, we have some talent. But they're also good kids who work hard and stay together. That's a good formula."
SPELLACY AND JOSEPH LEAD THE CHARGE AS THE 'CATS' ICERS GARNER THEIR FOURTH CONSECUTIVE VICTORY.
POSTED BY EDDIE DWYER ON 12/16/10.
Coach Pat O'Rourke's varsity hockey team skated and shot its way past Brecksville-Broadview Heights, 10-0, on Wednesday night in the first round of the Thornton Park Tournament.
Coming off a 4-1 victory over rival St. Edward, the Wildcats (9-3) took the sting out of the Bees early.
Saint Ignatius was led by senior forward and co-captain Kevin Joseph, who tied a single-game school record by tallying five assists. Junior captain Paddy Spellacy came up with three lamp lighters and the 'Cats got two-goal efforts from junior Mike Abood and sophomore Miles McQuinn. Junior goalie Matt Kovesdy turned away seven shots.
Kevin's five assists tied the mark set by Liam Geither '12 and Michael Wells '10 last season.
SAINT IGNATIUS VARSITY HOCKEY RECAP
'CATS DOMINATE WALSH JESUIT IN BRINGING HOME THE THORNTON PARK CHAMPIONSHIP.
POSTED ON 12/19/10.
The Saint Ignatius Wildcats, displaying the offensive firepower that helped them to a state ice hockey championship last season, overwhelmed the Walsh Jesuit Warriors, 8-1, in Sunday evening's title game of the Thornton Park Tournament in Shaker Heights.
In defeating Walsh Jesuit for the third time this season, the Wildcats won their sixth consecutive game and improved to 11-3 overall.
Junior forward and captain Paddy Spellacy got things started with the first of his two goals and junior forward Mike Abood and senior forward and co-captain Kevin Joseph made the score 3-0.
Spellacy's 17th goal of the season pushed the 'Cats' lead to 4-0 in the second period and, after Walsh scored off a power play, Wildcats junior defenders Andrew Steed and Jacques DeVilliers left no doubt with their lamp lighters. Spellacy also had two assists and standout junior forward Liam Geither totaled four assists.
Sophomore forward Miles McQuinn, who was celebrating a birthday on Sunday, closed out the offensive barrage with two goals. Honored as a Plain Dealer Player of the Week on Friday, Miles now has a team-leading 21 lamp lighters on the season.
Saint Ignatius returns to its home ice on Wednesday, when it takes on Red North Division rival University School in Brooklyn's Coyne Recreation Center. The puck is scheduled to drop at 3:15 p.m. Saint Ignatius and University School split their four meetings last season, with the Wildcats winning the one that mattered most - a 5-1 victory in the state semifinals. US entered that March 13th game as the defending state champion.
UNIVERSITY SCHOOL VERSUS SAINT IGNATIUS VARSITY HOCKEY RECAP.
WILDCATS ROAR EARLY AND THEN TURN BACK THE PREPPERS, 2-1, IN ANOTHER SPIRITED ENCOUNTER BETWEEN TWO OF NORTHEAST OHIO'S FINEST PROGRAMS.
LIAM GEITHER AND MIKE AVDEY PROVIDE THE GOALS AS THE 'CATS CAPTURE THEIR SEVENTH CONSECUTIVE VICTORY.
POSTED ON 12/22/10 AT 8:47 P.M.
By Eddie Dwyer
Copyright, December 2010
The wise and disciplined-conscious Saint Joseph nuns, when they weren't sharpening knuckles with a soft tap of the ruler, always taught us in grade school that if at first you don't succeed, try, try again.
Saint Ignatius High School's skilled and savvy junior forward Liam Geither did just that late Wednesday afternoon, as his seventh goal of the season and the first of the game turned out to be vital in the Wildcats' hard-earned 2-1 Red North Division victory over University School on the ice inside Brooklyn's John M. Coyne Recreation Center.
Geither, whose post-season heroics helped the Wildcats to a state ice hockey championship last March, stayed focused on the job at hand and put his team in front, 1-0, with less than three minutes gone in the first period.
Taking a rebound from fellow junior forward Colton Riemenschneider, Geither attempted a shot that hit off the goalie's pad. Rebounding his own effort, Geither slapped home number seven off a power-play situation. Later, Geither laughed and said, “Yeah, that would be nice,” when it was suggested that he should be credited with an assist on his own goal.
The goal was an act of perseverance that would have earned Geither a gold star from the Sisters of Saint Joseph. But he'll settle for the victory, thank you, which was the Wildcats' seventh in a row.
Saint Ignatius, which improved to 12-3 overall, now stands 4-0 in the Red North, a division, said Wildcats head coach Pat O'Rourke '90, that has to be as tough as any division in the state, in any sport.
Geither and Coach O'Rourke shared the same sentiment after the game – that the Wildcats dominated early, but left some points on the ice.
Of course, some of that was the result of University School's hustle and coaching. The Preppers, who are now 2-2 in the Red North Division, split four games against the 'Cats last season. US defeated Saint Ignatius, 3-2, in overtime for the Baron Cup Championship last winter, but was dominated by the Wildcats, 5-1, in the state semifinals.
“We had a lot of early chances that we didn't convert, so now you're playing more defensively,” Coach O'Rourke said.
Saint Ignatius got what turned out to be the decisive goal when sophomore forward Mike Avdey, coming up with a picture-perfect move from a winning face off, beat the goalie on his stick side with 9:25 remaining in the second period.
As is usually the case when the Wildcats and the Preppers get together, fans found themselves watching a game that was in doubt until the final 26.2 seconds ticked away. The late third-period excitement was provided by University School's Jack Linderman, who scored off a “knuckle shot” at 5:38.
Along with the efforts by Geither and Avdey, Saint Ignatius got another solid performance in goal by senior Josh Potts. The Preppers had 28 shots on goal.
In what was a first this season, neither one of the Wildcats' leading lamp lighters – sophomore forward Miles McQuinn (21 goals) and junior forward and captain Paddy Spellacy (17 goals) – scored.
However, Coach O'Rourke put that fact in its proper perspective. “We have some other players,” he said.
WELL-DESERVED HONOR: Chris Knoth '10, whose outstanding work as a defender played a major role in the Wildcats' run to the state ice hockey championship last season, will be presented the John J. Wirtz Athlete of the Year Award during halftime of the Wildcats' basketball game against University School on January 7.
Named in honor of the late and legendary Saint Ignatius coach and athletic director, the Wirtz Award is presented to the young man who had done the most for Saint Ignatius sports that school year and whose name is synonymous with skill and good sportsmanship. Knoth also excelled in lacrosse.
Congratulations to Chris and his family.
STO IN THE HOUSE: SportsTime Ohio was at the Brooklyn Rink on Wednesday to film a segment on the Saint Igntatius hockey program and the thrillsome threesome of the Wildcats' Broadcasting Network – Mike Watts '11, Mark Szwejkowski '11 and Sean Hegarty '11. The segment is expected to air on STO's High School Sports Insider some time next month.
IN CLOSING: THE CORNER WOULD LIKE TO EXPRESS A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY AND BLESSED NEW YEAR TO ALL OF THE SAINT IGNATIUS ATHLETIC TEAMS AND THEIR FAMILIES.
LET ME SAY AGAIN THAT THE PAST YEAR HAS BEEN A PLEASURE AND A PRIVILEGE FOR THIS VETERAN REPORTER. GOD BE WILLING, WE'LL BE LOOKING FORWARD TO MORE MEMORABLE MOMENTS IN 2011.
SAINT IGNATIUS VERSUS GILMOUR ACADEMY HOCKEY RECAP.
POSTED ON 12/28/10 AT 1:17 P.M.
NORTH BETHESDA, MARYLAND – A long-distance congratulations goes out to Coach Pat O'Rourke '90 and his Saint Ignatius varsity hockey team, which won its ninth consecutive game this morning by defeating Gilmour Academy, 3-1, in the second round of the Saint Ignatius Christmas Tournament at Brooklyn's John M. Coyne Recreation Center.
The Wildcats (14-3), who had lost their two previous meetings with Gilmour this season, responded with goals from Will Smith, Captain Paddy Spellacy and Miles McQuinn.
Spellacy, who had two goals in Monday's 6-1 triumph over Erie (Pa.) McDowell, now has 20 lamp lighters on the season. McQuinn also tallied versus McDowell and his goal against Gilmour pushed his team-leading number to 23.
Accounting for the three other goals in the McDowell game were Smith, Andrew Steed and Liam Geither.
Again, congratulations to Coach O'Rourke and Co., and stay hot on the ice my friends.
'CATS' ICERS MAKE IT 10 IN A ROW.
POSTED ON 12/28/10.
After defeating its nemesis, Gilmour Academy, on Tuesday morning, the Saint Ignatius varsity hockey team returned to the ice Tuesday night and defeated Sylvania Northview, 5-1, in the third round of the Saint Ignatius Christmas Tournament at Brooklyn's John M. Coyne Recreation Center.
Saint Ignatius also dominated the Sylvania team in last season's state championship game.
The Wildcats (15-3) jumped on Northview from the get-go as Mike Avdey scored unassisted and Liam Geither tallied off an assist from Miles McQuinn.
Geither came up with his second goal of the night off assists from McQuinn and Mike Abood, Colton Riemenschneider fired home a lamp lighter off assists from Paddy Spellacy and Kevin Joseph and Spellacy, the 'Cats' captain, scored his 21st goal of the season off another assist by Joseph.
Senior goalie Josh Potts continued his steady play by stopping 16 of 17 shots.
SAINT IGNATIUS VERSUS GILMOUR ACADEMY VARSITY HOCKEY RECAP.
WILDCATS CAPTURE THEIR CHRISTMAS TOURNAMENT BY DEFEATING THE LANCERS FOR THE SECOND TIME IN TWO DAYS.
LIAM GEITHER AND COLTON RIEMENSCHNEIDER EACH FIND THE NET TWICE AS SAINT IGNATIUS RUNS ITS STREAK TO 11.
POSTED ON 12/29/10 AT 2:56 P.M.
Coach Pat O'Rourke '90 and his Wildcats varsity hockey team are celebrating a holiday championship this afternoon, the result of a solid 6-3 victory over the Lancers from Gilmour Academy in Wednesday's high-noon showdown at the John M. Coyne Recreation Center in Brooklyn.
In improving to 16-3, the 'Cats extended their winning streak to 11 games and brought home the championship trophy of their Christmas Tournament for the first time. Along with two triumphs over Gilmour, Saint Ignatius also defeated Erie (Pa.) McDowell and Sylvania Northview in the three-day affair on Memphis Avenue.
St. Ignatius entered the championship game ranked second in the state poll and the Lancers, who are now 2-2 against the 'Cats this season, are ranked sixth. Toledo St. Francis is Ohio's top ranked team in the initial poll of the season.
Gilmour jumped out to a 1-0 lead on Wednesday, scoring at the 9:54 mark.
Colton Riemenschneider tied the score off a power play at 6:17, a goal that was assisted by captain Paddy Spellacy and Miles McQuinn.
Mike Abood put the Wildcats in front, 2-1, as he tallied off a McQuinn assist at 2:52 and Riemenschneider struck again early in the second period off an assist from Kevin Joseph.
Gilmour closed to 3-2 at 10:05 of the second period, but Liam Geither, the Christmas Tournament MVP, delivered an authoritative shot off another McQuinn assist - an effort that impressed Saint Ignatius' hockey savvy lead broadcaster Mike Watts '11 - and the 'Cats took a two-goal advantage into the final 15 minutes.
Geither, who was Mr. Clutch in last season's district tournament, gave the defending state champs a three-goal cushion with a back hander at 7:21 of the third period.
After Spellacy came up with his 22nd lamp lighter of the season, the 'Cats were in command with 5:35 left. Andrew Steed assisted on Spellacy's goal.
The Lancers would score off a power play with just over five minutes remaining, but the afternoon, the game and the title trophy belonged to Saint Ignatius.
Next up for the Wildcats are two demanding Red North Division games to start the New Year. On Sunday, Jan. 2, they will face University School at The Pond and on Thursday, Jan. 6, it's another match up with longtime rival St. Edward, this time at Winterhurst. Both games are scheduled for 7:10 p.m. University School is ranked fifth in the state poll and the Eagles are ranked third.
The corner, Fr. Jack Murphy, Coach Sean O'Toole '87 and his Wildcats varsity basketball team wish to express our long-distance congratulations (via North Bethesda, Maryland) to Coach O'Rourke, Geither and Co., and the crafty Saint Ignatius Broadcasting Network.
And again, stay hot on the ice my friends.
SAINT IGNATIUS' VARSITY HOCKEY TEAM DROPS AN OVERTIME GAME TO UNIVERSITY SCHOOL.
POSTED ON 1/2/11.
Saint Ignatius was defeated by University School, 5-4, in overtime on Sunday night in another will-testing game on the ice between the 'Cats and the Preppers.
The teams have now split their two meetings this winter, with Saint Ignatius prevailing, 2-1, on December 22 in the Brooklyn Recreation Center.
During its victory at The Pond on Sunday, US overcame a two-goal deficit late in the third period and went on to snap the Wildcats' 11-game winning streak.
Saint Ignatius (16-4) will look to bounce back on Thursday night, when it travels to Winterhurst to face longtime rival St. Edward. The puck will drop at 7:10. The Wildcats defeated the Eagles, 4-1, on Dec. 11 at Quicken Loans Arena.
- Eddie Dwyer.
SAINT IGNATIUS-ST. EDWARD VARSITY HOCKEY RECAP.
THE RED NORTH DIVISION IS UP FOR GRABS, AS FOUR TEAMS ARE NOW BUNDLED TIGHTLY AFTER ST. EDWARD DEFEATS THE 'CATS, 2-1, AT WINTERHURST ON THURSDAY NIGHT.
SAINT IGNATIUS AND ST. EDWARD HAVE SPLIT THEIR TWO MEETINGS THIS SEASON AND COULD MEET AGAIN NEXT WEEK AT THE MEADVILLE (PA.) TOURNAMENT.
POSTED ON 1/7/11 AT 12:17 A.M.
By Eddie Dwyer
Copyright, January 2011
Saint Ignatius head coach Pat O'Rourke '90 doesn't need to be reminded about the roller-coaster ride of emotions that accompany the game of ice hockey.
As a former player, he realizes it is a great game that can bring jubilation one minute or one period, and rip your heart out the next.
On the ice, emotions have to be at a peak for 45 minutes or more, if called for. Simply put, there is no marriage between contentment and one of the most demanding sports you will find at any level.
Just ask Coach O'Rourke.
“I thought it was lackluster effort (on our part),” O'Rourke said after the Wildcats were defeated by St. Edward, 2-1, in a key Red North Division game in Serpentini Arena at Winterhurst on Thursday night. “It was uninspired.
“We knew they were going to come out hitting and we hit okay, but not great. I don't know. They scored first and we were able to get back even. But we had nothing cooking on offense. We weren't flying like we usually do.”
St. Edward, which is now 12-6-2 overall, joins the Wildcats (16-5) with a record of 4-2 in the demanding Red North Division. Through Thursday night, Strongsville was 3-1-1 in the division and University School stood 3-2. Now that's a race my friends.
The Eagles, who were coming off an overtime loss to Lake Catholic in Mentor, came out aggressive and took a 1-0 lead on a goal by sophomore forward Gabe Lampron at the 12:45 mark of the first period. Fellow sophomore forward Connor King tallied the assist. St. Edward had seven shots on goal in the first 15 minutes, while the 'Cats were credited with five.
In the second period, Saint Ignatius picked up its offensive approach and tied the score on a goal by standout sophomore center Miles McQuinn, an authoritative shot from the left side at 9:54. Junior wings Liam Geither and Mike Abood were on the assists.
The Wildcats, with senior Josh Potts doing a solid job in goal, out-shot the Eagles, 10-9, in the second period.
After surviving penalty situations that had it down two players early in the third period, St. Edward, back at full strength, scored the game winner on a rebound flick by junior forward Mick Bartholomew off an assist from senior forward Danny O'Sullivan with 6:58 remaining.
The Eagles were whistled for icing twice in the final minute and 16 seconds, but as Coach O'Rourke emphasized, the 'Cats' offense, which had a 12-6 shots-on-goal advantage over the final 15 minutes, couldn't catch fire.
For the game, Saint Ignatius totaled 27 shots on goal to the Eagles' 22.
“We're in a little slump right now,” said Coach O'Rourke, who guided the Wildcats to the state championship last March. “We lost on Sunday night in a tough fashion (5-4 in overtime to University School). We've got to end the streak (two losses after 11 consecutive victories) as soon as possible. The problem is that we're off for the next seven days.
“We had a chance to take charge in the division tonight, and now it's back to square one I guess,” O'Rourke continued. “We didn't play aggressive enough and if we do that in the state tournament, we're done.
“We have to tidy up a few things in our defensive zone and I am sure the film will be very educational in this game. We'll probably watch it tomorrow.”
'CATS ICERS RALLY TO DEFEAT ERIE MCDOWELL IN THE KEYSTONE STATE.
MCQUINN'S THIRD-PERIOD GOALS SHOW THE WAY, AS JOSH POTTS TURNS AWAY 32 SHOTS AND KEVIN JOSEPH DEALS TWO ASSISTS.
POSTED ON 1/14/11 AT 10:50 P.M.
GAME DETAILS COURTESY OF CHRIS ABOOD '11, BROTHER OF WILDCATS' STANDOUT LEFT WING MIKE ABOOD '12.
Trailing, 1-0, entering the third period, Saint Ignatius' varsity hockey team rode two goals by gifted sophomore center Miles McQuinn to a 2-1 triumph over Erie McDowell in Friday night's first round of the Meadville (Pa.) Tournament.
The Wildcats (17-5), who had defeated McDowell by five goals during last month's Saint Ignatius Christmas Tournament in Brooklyn, fell behind midway through the second period as McDowell scored off a power play.
In the third period, McQuinn, who is already flirting with 30 goals this season, tied the score off assists from Jacques DeVilliers and Kevin Joseph at the 3:17 mark. Three minutes later, McQuinn struck again, courtesy of an assist by Mike Abood and another lead-to-lighting-the-lamp by Joseph.
The 'Cats had 25 shots on goal, while McDowell tested Saint Ignatius' gritty senior goalie Josh Potts 33 times.
Saint Ignatius is scheduled to face Seneca Valley on Saturday at 11 a.m. Coach Pat O'Rourke's team will return to the Meadville ice on Saturday night at 8 to take on Erie Cathedral Prep.
HOCKEY TEAM ADVANCES TO THE SEMIFINALS OF THE MEADVILLE TOURNAMENT.
The Saint Ignatius varsity hockey team rode a hat trick by standout junior forward and captain Paddy Spellacy to a 6-0 victory over Seneca Valley in the second round of the annual Meadville Tournament in Pennsylvania on Saturday morning.
Also lighting the lamp for the 'Cats were Miles McQuinn, Kevin Joseph and Colton Riemenschneider. Junior goalie Matt Kovesdy stopped 11 shots.
On Saturday night, Saint Ignatius dominated Erie Cathedral Prep, 11-2, and will now face Meadville in Sunday's semifinals at 10 a.m. If successful, the Wildcats (19-5) will advance to Sunday's championship game against the winner of St. Edward vs. Erie McDowell. The title tilt is slated for 3 p.m.
Thanks to Chris Abood '11 for keeping us up to date on the hockey team while we were in Detroit covering the Wildcats' basketball sweep (varsity and junior varsity) of Detroit Jesuit.
SAINT IGNATIUS VARSITY HOCKEY RECAP.
'CATS BLANK MEADVILLE (PA.) IN THE SEMIFINALS AND GO ON TO DEFEAT ST. EDWARD IN SUNDAY'S CHAMPIONSHIP GAME OF THE ANNUAL MEADVILLE TOURNAMENT.
*PADDY SPELLACY IS NOW THE WILDCATS' CAREER LEADER IN GOALS.
Congratulations go out to Coach Pat O'Rourke '90 and the Saint Ignatius varsity hockey team for bringing home the championship trophy of the Meadville Tournament on Sunday.
The Wildcats (21-5) capped off a 5-0 weekend by defeating rival St. Edward, 3-2, in the championship game. It was the 'Cats' second victory in three meetings with the Eagles this season.
Saint Ignatius advanced to the title game by dominating Meadville, 6-0, in a semifinal match up on Sunday morning. In the five games, Coach O'Rourke's offense totaled 28 goals.
Junior goalie Matt Kovesdy posted his second shutout of the tournament against Meadville and accounting for the sweet six in that game were Miles McQuinn with two lamp lighters, underrated senior co-captain Kevin Joseph, Eamonn Walsh and the big-game tested tandem of Mike Abood and Liam Geither.
McQuinn, a gifted sophomore center, got things started against St. Edward by scoring on a power play off assists from Abood and Geither. It was the first of three assists for Abood, as the junior left wing/defender was a key play maker all weekend.
Trailing, 2-1, the Wildcats tied the score on a goal by junior forward Colton Riemenschneider off assists from Abood and Joseph. Geither, a junior right wing who plays with ice in his veins, provided the difference maker as he lit the lamp courtesy of assists by McQuinn and Abood.
Senior goalie Josh Potts had to come up with several key saves in a game that was described by Saint Ignatius hockey enthusiast Chris Abood '11, Mike's brother, as being “fierce and fighting hard.” The Eagles out shot the Wildcats, 45-30.
Tournament All-Star recognition went to junior captain and forward Paddy Spellacy, Abood, junior defender Will Smith and Potts.
*ANOTHER MILESTONE FOR PADDY
And while we are passing out congratulations, let's give a big tap of the stick to Spellacy, who this weekend became the program's all-time career leader in goals scored.
Paddy's hat trick against Seneca Valley in the second round of the Meadville Tournament gave him 82 goals for his young career, which surpassed the previous mark of 81 set by Sean O'Malley (2001-04).
In helping Saint Ignatius to a state championship last season, Paddy set the 'Cats' single-season mark for goals scored with a remarkable 43. His dad, Kevin, still holds the Wildcats' single-game record for goals with six against Normandy in 1980.
Again, congratulations to Paddy, his family and Coach O'Rourke's program.
THE VARSITY HOCKEY TEAM, BEHIND MILES MCQUINN, PADDY SPELLACY AND JOSH POTTS, BLANKS PADUA, 2-0, IN A KEY RED NORTH DIVISION GAME.
POSTED ON 1/22/11
THE WILDCATS' ICE HOCKEY TEAM KEEPS PACE IN THE RED NORTH: With standout junior captain and forward Paddy Spellacy and gifted sophomore center Miles McQuinn accounting for the goals, Coach Pat O'Rourke's Wildcats skated, shot and defended their way past Padua, 2-0, on Friday night at IceLand USA.
With the victory, Saint Ignatius improved to 22-5 and maintained its share of first place with St. Edward in the rugged Red North Division.
McQuinn struck at 12:03 of the second period and Spellacy lit the lamp at 7:22 of the third period. One of the top 1-2 scoring punches in the state, McQuinn and Spellacy have combined for more than 60 goals this season.
Led by senior goalie Josh Potts, Saint Ignatius turned in a solid effort defensively.
The 'Cats will return to IceLand USA tonight (Saturday) for a Red North Division game against Strongsville. The puck is scheduled to drop at 6:30.
LIAM GEITHER, MIKE ABOOD AND MILES MCQUINN SLAP HOME DOUBLES AS SAINT IGNATIUS' VARSITY HOCKEY TEAM DOMINATES STRONGSVILLE.
EIGHT IS MORE THAN ENOUGH AS THE 'CATS' ICERS SLOW THOSE MUSTANGS DOWN.
Coach Pat O'Rourke's varsity hockey team remained in the upper echelon of the rugged Red North Division by defeating the Strongsville Mustangs, 8-1, on Saturday night at IceLand USA.
Sharing the wealth and sharpening their offense for the Red North's final run, the upcoming Baron Cup and the OHSAA tournament, the Wildcats (23-5) got two-goal efforts from Miles McQuinn, Liam Geither and Mike Abood. Also lighting the lamp were Paddy Spellacy and Colton Riemenschneider.
Senior Josh Potts saved 19 of the Mustangs' 20 shots on goal.
Up next for the 'Cats is a trip to Kent State on Friday night for a 5:30 match up with Walsh Jesuit. On Saturday, Coach O'Rourke's team returns home to Brooklyn's John M. Coyne Recreation Center to face the Lake Catholic Cougars at 4:45 p.m. The corner will have game coverage on the Memphis Avenue encounter with the Cougars.
Saint Ignatius vs. Walsh Jesuit Hockey Recap
SAINT IGNATIUS' VARSITY HOCKEY TEAM LAYS DOUBLE STICKS ON THE WARRIORS IN DOMINATING WALSH JESUIT AT KENT STATE UNIVERSITY.
'CATS ICERS WIN THEIR EIGHTH STRAIGHT BEHIND A FAST AND FURIOUS PERFORMANCE.
Well, let's see.
Paddy Spellacy, the Wildcats' outstanding junior forward and captain, had four goals and three assists. Talented junior defender Mike Abood and gifted sophomore center Miles McQuinn each had two goals.
And there were plenty of other points to go around.
Saint Ignatius (24-5), winning its eighth straight outing on the ice, defeated Walsh Jesuit, 11-1, on Friday night at Kent State University and maintained its lead in the rugged Red North Division. The game was called after two periods.
Spellacy and McQuinn have now combined for 70 goals this winter, including 38 by Miles.
Here's a suggestion. Get the chores and the shopping done early and come out to Brooklyn's John M. Coyne Recreation Center today (Saturday) and see the 'Cats take on the always dangerous Lake Catholic Cougars in a key Red North Division matchup.
The puck is scheduled to drop on Memphis Avenue at 4:45 p.m.
Lake Catholic versus Saint Ignatius varsity hockey recap.
COACH O'ROURKE'S WILDCATS TAKE ANOTHER MAJOR STEP IN THE RED NORTH DIVISION.
SAINT IGNATIUS TURNS BACK A DETERMINED LAKE CATHOLIC TEAM, 5-3, EARLY SATURDAY EVENING TO STAY ON TOP OF THE STRONGEST HIGH SCHOOL HOCKEY CIRCUIT IN THE AREA, IF NOT THE ENTIRE STATE.
JASON PETRASKA, LIAM GEITHER AND MILES MCQUINN HELP FUEL THE 'CATS' NINTH CONSECUTIVE VICTORY.
*WILDCATS HOCKEY FAMILY RECOGNIZES ONE OF THE 'CATS' ALL-TIME BEST.
POSTED ON 1/29/11 AT 10:43 P.M.
By Eddie Dwyer
Copyright, Jan.-Feb., 2011
After his Wildcats turned back Lake Catholic, 5-3, early Saturday evening in Brooklyn's John M. Coyne Recreation Center, Saint Ignatius head varsity hockey coach Pat O'Rourke '90 made it clear as to what approach his team takes this time of the year, or any part of the season for that matter.
“We have a sign that says 'Expect Excellence,'” Coach O'Rourke said after the Wildcats improved to 25-5, won their ninth consecutive outing and maintained their lead in the always challenging Red North Division. “We're not shooting for mediocrity or coming in second or third. We want to be the champs. We want to win the division, we want to win the Baron Cup and we want to win state.
“That's our goal every year. I think it's every team's goal.”
Saint Ignatius, which captured the ultimate goal last season by bringing home the program's second state championship and first since 2000, continued its pursuit for all three of the titles Coach O'Rourke mentioned above by defeating a tough and resilient Lake Catholic team.
The Wildcats, who at 8-2 sit atop the Red North Division, struck first on Saturday as senior forward Jason Petraska scored unassisted at 7:18 of the first period.
Lake Catholic answered a minute later with the first of two goals by Andrew Mitch and the score remained 1-1 entering the second period. Saint Ignatius had 10 shots on goal in the first 15 minutes and the Cougars fired nine.
In out-shooting Lake Catholic,10-2, in the second period, Saint Ignatius moved in front again, 2-1. Standout junior forward Liam Geither worked his way open on the glove side of the goalie and he tapped home the lamp lighter off assists from sophomore defender Joey Malone and gifted sophomore center Miles McQuinn.
“They tried to throw it (the puck) out and our D (defense) kept it in,” said Geither of the first of his two goals on Saturday. “It resulted in Miles getting the puck off the boards and no one was by me, so he just threw it to me.”
Lake Catholic, which was coming off a tie against a very talented University School team, came back to tie the score again at the 10-minute mark of the third period. Kevin Bruss did the honors for the Cougars, who now stand 3-5-2 in the Red North Division.
Two minutes and 26 seconds later, McQuinn came up with the first of his two lamp lighters on the evening and the 'Cats led, 3-2. Miles scored off a power-play situation.
Geither then gave his team some breathing room when, off a spin move, he sent home his 21st goal of the season. The short-handed effort came with 6:46 remaining in the third period.
“Actually, it was a mistake,” said the good-natured Geither, who had several clutch postseason goals during last season's state-title run.”Miles gave it to me and I tried to go under my back hand and I lost it. So the only thing I could do was spin around and hit it.”
Luck, spin, whatever. As Geither said, “I'll take it.”
Lake Catholic was far from finished, however, as Mitch tallied his second goal at 3:56 and it was back to a one-score advantage for the 'Cats.
Saint Ignatius kept its composure, however, and settled the issue on an empty-net goal by McQuinn with 19.2 seconds left. Junior forward and captain Paddy Spellacy and senior co-captain Kevin Joseph assisted on what was McQuinn's team-leading 40th goal of the season.
McQuinn and Spellacy have combined for 72 goals this winter.
“We can play the body more and play a more physical game,” said Geither of one of the things he believes the 'Cats can improve on during the stretch run of the regular season. The Wildcats close their regular season with two home games at the Coyne Recreation Center – Saturday (Feb. 5 at 4:45 p.m.) against Padua and Sunday (Feb. 6 at noon) versus Strongsville.
Although Saturday's victory wasn't the complete performance every player and coach strive for, Coach O'Rourke was pleased with some of the things he saw on the support level.
“We did enough tonight,” Coach O'Rourke said. “It was an ugly game. I thought we had the better of the play, but our goalie (Josh Potts) had a rare, rare off night for him. We could fall apart or we could pick him up. And we picked him up.”
RAY ARDIRE IN THE HOUSE ON MEMPHIS AVENUE: After the first period of Saturday's game with Lake Catholic, Coach Pat O'Rourke and Saint Ignatius' hockey family paid tribute to former Wildcat hockey and football great Ray Ardire '93.
A member of the 'Cats' last Baron Cup championship team (1992), Ray was inducted into the Saint Ignatius Athletic Hall of Fame in 2007. Upon his graduation from Saint Ignatius, Ray was presented with the prestigious John J. Wirtz Athlete of the Year Award. Those well-deserved honors went to a young man this old-timer had the privilege of covering during my 36-plus years at The Plain Dealer.
WINNING IT OUTRIGHT, AGAIN!
POSTED ON 2/5/11 AT 10:56 P.M.
WILDCATS VARSITY HOCKEY TEAM SKATES, SHOOTS AND DEFENDS ITS WAY TO A SECOND CONSECUTIVE RED NORTH DIVISION CHAMPIONSHIP BY DEFEATING PADUA, 5-1, ON SATURDAY NIGHT.
THE SAVVY 'CATS GOT AN OUTSTANDING EFFORT IN GOAL BY JOSH POTTS AND LAMP LIGHTERS FROM MIKE AVDEY, LIAM GEITHER, MIKE ABOOD AND PADDY SPELLACY. GEITHER SHAKES OFF AN EARLY INJURY AND SENDS HOME TWO GOALS IN A DOMINANT FIRST PERIOD.
By Eddie Dwyer
Copyright, Feb. 2011
Saint Ignatius' varsity hockey team wasn't about to take the easy route to another championship in the rugged Red North Division.
Although the opportunity was there, if the 'Cats wanted it that way.
But no, not these young men.
Tiebreakers are for wannabes, not defending state champions.
The Wildcats, leaving no doubt as to which team would reign as Red North champions for the second consecutive year, jumped on Padua early Saturday night and went on to a 5-1 victory over the Bruins in a Red North matchup on the ice inside Brooklyn's John M. Coyne Recreation Center.
In winning its second consecutive outright title in the Red North Division, Saint Ignatius improved to 26-5 on the season and will be the top seed for next week's tradition-rich Baron Cup. The 'Cats are also expected to be the No. 1 seed for the OHSAA Brooklyn District Tournament, but the voting for that doesn't take place until Wednesday evening.
“It was tough to fight through it, pactice was a little rough,” said Wildcats senior goalie Josh Potts, who was disappointed in his performance in last weekend's 5-3 victory over Lake Catholic. “Coming into the game tonight, I was a little nervous. But I had a talk with my dad and he kind of said, I've done it before, to go out there and perform. And I did it.”
Putting together an effort that was reminiscent of his many strong outings during last season's state-championhip run, Potts made several key stops (22 total) on Saturday night, including a picture-perfect glove save against a one-on-one situation in the first period.
“I looked at his eyes, I knew where he was going to shoot it,” Potts said. “So I just sayed where I was and reacted.”
In a game that was physical from the get-go, Saint Ignatius and its faithful were holding their collective breath after sophomore forward Mike Avdey scored off an assist from standout junior forward Liam Getiher with the game not two minutes old.
Following his pass to Avdey, Geither was hit from behind and went down on the ice. After being attended to by Wildcats outstanding head trainer Hank Gaughan A.T.C., Geither was helped up and he skated off the ice to the Saint Ignatius bench.
Let's just say that if you put Geither on the ice, you just might pay the price.
After a few minutes of rest, the gritty and gifted Geither returned to the ice and promptly scored his 22nd and 23rd goals of the season.
He took assists from junior defender Will Smith and senior defender and co-capain Pete Bobulsky and slapped home a shot from the goalie's stick side at the 9:30 mark of the first period.
Less than two minutes later, sophomore center Miles McQuinn skated from behind the net and found Geither, who gave the Wildcats a 3-0 lead with an authoritative effort.
“I threw the pass to Mike (Avdey) and I was looking at Mike to see if he scored,” said Geither of his early injury scare. "The kid blindsided me and I went into the boards and hit my heel. My foot just caved in. But it's fine now.”
Padua (16-14), which was fighting for a spot in the Baron Cup, made it a two-goal game when Mike Palasics, off a power-play advantage, fired home a shot near the blue line at 9:20 of the second period.
Saint Ignatius answered with a goal from talented and hard-nosed junior defender Mike Abood and the 'Cats regained their three-goal advantage heading into the third period. Assisting on Abood's lamp lighter were junior captain and forward Paddy Spellacy and senior co-captain and forward Kevin Joseph.
The final seconds of the second period were a bit spirited, as a little skirmish broke out. Two Saint Ignatius players and one Bruin started the third period in their respective penalty boxes.
“We knew they were going to come out hard, so we wanted to come hard, too,” said Spellacy, the Wildcats' career and single-season leader in goals scored.
After just missing on several other attempts, Spellacy closed the out the scoring at 8:44 of the third period by delivering his 33rd goal of the season.
“Liam (Geither) chips it up to Michael (Abood), it's a two-on-two and I just wanted to drop back a little bit to create some space,” said Spellacy, who has been playing hockey with Geither since they were both about 3 years old. “Michael was on me and I was lucky enough that he passed it back to me. I wanted to get a rip off quick and catch the goalie off guard.”
Scoring five times against Padua's exceptional goalie Justin Goebel is quite an accomplishment in itself. Despite the final score, Goebel came up with some saves (31 total) that would make any veteran hockey coach smile.
Saint Ignatius, which will begin Baron Cup play on Wednesday night at 8 in the Coyne Recreation Center, will look to equal a season-high 11-game winning streak when it takes on Strongsville in a regular-season finale today (Sunday). The puck will drop at high noon on the Brooklyn ice and junior Matt Kovesdy, who will be taking over full-time net duties next season, is expected to be in goal.
“We're imperfect, and we said it today,” said Wildcats head coach Pat O'Rourke '90. “Some things in the defensive zone we could tidy up, we're still trying to perfect our floor check with our rotations more than anything and we haven't gotten a lot of power plays either.
“But we're doing fine. We're looking at one game left tomorrow (Sunday) and then we reset to 0-0. Then we go to the Baron Cup, that's three games, and then one loss (in the OHSAA tournament) and you're out. We're not satisfied, we know one loss could knock us out. But we're just going to play our game, be aggressive and see what happens.”
Strongsville at Saint Ignatius varsity hockey recap.
Posted on 2/6/11 at 6:42 p.m.
'CATS WRAP UP THEIR REGULAR SEASON BY DEFEATING THE MUSTANGS, 6-0, ON SUNDAY AFTERNOON.
MIKE ABOOD'S “NATURAL” HAT TRICK IN THE SECOND PERIOD HELPS SHOW THE WAY AS COACH PAT O'ROURKE'S TEAM ENTERS BARON CUP PLAY AT 27-5.
By Eddie Dwyer
Copyright, Feb. 2011
As just a junior, Saint Ignatius' Mike Abood is going to have other special moments in his varsity hockey career.
But you can be sure that Abood, the 'Cats' talented and hard-nosed left wing, will always cherish what took place during the second period of Sunday's regular-season finale against the Strongsville Mustangs in Brooklyn's John M. Coyne Recreation Center.
Saint Ignatius, with Abood scoring three of the 'Cats' four second-period goals, wore down the Mustangs, 6-0, in a Red North Division matchup.
In accomplishing what is referred to in hockey as a “natural hat trick” (three goals in one period), Abood helped his team improve to 27-5 heading into Wednesday night's first round of the tradition-rich Baron Cup.
The Wildcats, who racked up their second 11-game winning streak of the season with Sunday's triumph, will face North Olmsted in the first round. The puck is scheduled to drop at 8:30 in the Coyne Recreation Center.
“This is my first Saint Ignatius hat trick ” said Abood, whose father, Keith Abood, is an assistant coach for the Wildcats and a former hockey mainstay for Shaker Heights in the mid-to-late 1970s. “All in one period, wow.
“I was just in the right place at the right time,” Mike Abood continued. “Kevin Joseph got me the puck and I just finished.”
Did he ever.
Abood's first goal, which made the score 3-0 at the 14:21 of the second period, saw him go top side off assists from Joseph, the 'Cats' solid and underrated senior co-captain and right wing, and junior defender Will Smith.
Smith and sophomore center Miles McQuinn assisted on Abood's next lamp lighter, which came at 10:54, and at 9:02 Joseph and junior defender Jacques DeVilliers helped lead the way to Abood's memorable hat-trick goal, an effort in front of the goal that was too quick and too sharp for the goalie to handle.
“I think we're playing our best hockey of the season and our careers,” said Abood, who was an integral part of last season's state-championship team. “We just have to keep moving right now.”
After wrapping up the Red North Division championship on Saturday night (see story below), Saint Ignatius kept moving by returning to the Brooklyn ice 17 hours later.
'Cats gifted junior forward Liam Geither, who seems to live for this time of the season, got things started at high noon on Sunday by taking an assist from McQuinn and tallying his 24th goal of the season at the seven-minute mark of the first period. It was the first of four power-play goals by the Wildcats.
Less than two minutes later, McQuinn, displaying his exceptional work with the puck, grabbed an assist from always-reliable junior forward Colton Riemenschneider and beat the goalie stick side for his team-leading 41st goal of the winter.
Following Abood's three-goal flurry, Smith closed the scoring with a McQuinn-assisted lamp lighter in the final minute of the second period.
Junior goalie Matt Kovesdy got the shutout as Saint Ignatius had 51 shots on goal to Strongsville's 13. The 'Cats outshot the Mustangs, 17-1, in the second period.
“It was kind of a weird game I think for both teams, as we were sort of locked in as to what we're going to do in the Baron Cup,” said Saint Ignatius head coach Pat O'Rourke '90. “We have the possibility of seeing them on Saturday.
But we played well and finished up strong, and that's what you want to do. And now we're 0-0 again.
“Obviously the state tournament is the most important, but to win the Baron Cup would be nice,” Coach O'Rourke continued. “We haven't won it in awhile (last time was 1992).”
Strongsville completed its regular season at 17-8-2.
BY THE NUMBERS: Wildcats outstanding junior forward and captain Paddy Spellacy, the program's leader for goals in a season (43 last winter) and a career (90), and the 'Cats' all-time points leader with 160, is one assist away from tying St. Ignatius' career mark in that department. Matt Zeman (1998-2001) totaled 71 assists.
Junior forward Liam Geither, Spellacy's life-long teammate, recently surpassed Paddy's single-season mark for assists (35 last season). Geither now has 38 assists to go along with his 24 goals this winter.
NORTH OLMSTED VERSUS SAINT IGNATIUS BARON CUP HOCKEY RECAP.
POSTED ON 2/10/11 AT 1:32 A.M.
TAYLOR WOLF'S FIRST VARSITY HAT TRICK HELPS FUEL SAINT IGNATIUS' NINE-GOAL RESPONSE, AS COACH O'ROURKE'S 'CATS ADVANCE WITH A 9-1 VICTORY.
PADDY SPELLACY ADDS ANOTHER LINE TO HIS CAREER MARKS AND MILES MCQUINN TIES THE WILDCATS' SINGLE-SEASON RECORD FOR GOALS SCORED.
SAINT IGNATIUS WILL FACE A TOUGH AND TALENTED LAKE CATHOLIC TEAM IN SATURDAY'S SECOND ROUND.
By Eddie Dwyer
Copyright, Feb. 2011
Just minutes before they dropped the puck for the Baron Cup I opening-round game between North Olmsted and Saint Ignatius on Wednesday night, the Wildcats were presented with a special plaque in recognition of their championship in the highly regarded Red North Division of the Greater Cleveland High School Hockey League.
Nearly four minutes later, there was a brief, yet noticeable hush among the Saint Ignatius faithful in attendance at the John M. Coyne Recreation Center.
The Wildcats, seeded No. 1 for both the Baron Cup and the area's OHSAA District Tournament, found themselves trailing, 1-0, after North Olmsted's Alex Arendec lit the lamp for the heavy underdog Eagles.
But then that old, but ever so true saying, came into play – Don't wake a sleeping giant.
Saint Ignatius, responding in a manner one associates with a championship team, rode Paddy Spellacy's authoritative slap shot from outside the circle and the on-the-money rebound by junior forward Taylor Wolf to a one-goal advantage after the first 15 minutes and went to a 9-1 triumph in Brooklyn.
The Wildcats, who took command with five more goals in the second period, improved to 28-5 and advanced to Saturday's second round of the Baron Cup, where they will face what just might be one of the best under-.500 teams in Northeast Ohio – the 11-15-4 Lake Catholic Cougars. The puck is scheduled to drop at 5:30 in the Coyne Recreation Center.
Lake Catholic, which defeated Strongsville, 5-4, in overtime in Wednesday night's other Baron Cup I opening-round matchup, gave Saint Ignatius all it wanted in a Red North Division game in Brooklyn on Jan. 29. The Wildcats prevailed, 5-3, with their final goal coming on an empty-net situation.
“We definitely didn't come out as hard as we need to do,” said Wolf, who came up with his first varsity hat trick for the blue, gold and white. “I think we were a little lazy to start off. But then we realized it's the Baron Cup, we have to get it going. We just had to get our heads back in it.”
After Spellacy's shot from distance and the first of Wolf's three goals, Saint Ignatius had the passion of a team that is trying to win its first Baron Cup championship since February of 1992. (see the '92 recap that follows the basketball preview below).
With 29 seconds left on their power-play advantage to start the second period, the Wildcats struck eight seconds into the period on a goal by sophomore center Miles McQuinn off an assist from junior forward Mike Abood.
The second-period flurry continued, as senior co-captain and rigth wing Kevin Joseph scored off a clever back-handed effort. I wrote it previously and I'll post it again – Joseph is one of the most underrated players, offensively and defensively, to come out of the rugged Red North.
Abood, who was coming off his natural hat trick (three goals in one period) in last weekend's 6-0 victory over Strongsville, gave the 'Cats a 5-1 lead by scoring off assists from Joseph and Spellacy. After the heads-up Wolf converted a deflection and another rebound into his second and third goals of the night, it was just a matter of how strong Saint Ignatius would finish.
That question was answered when McQuinn fired home his team-leading 43rd goal of the season off an assist from steady junior forward Colton Riemenschneider and Spellacy sent the puck whistling into the net for his 35th lamp lighter of the winter.
Miles' 43rd effort ties Paddy's single-season goals mark that was set during last season's state-championship run and for those of you who do not keep up with the stats and records, Paddy is the 'Cats' all-time goals scorer (92), all-time assists leader (74) and thus, all-time points leader.
“We had a lot of great looks from our defense tonight,” said Wolf, after Saint Ignatius outshot North Olmsted, 41-13. “The key for us is to come out strong and play three hard periods.”
Wildcats head coach Pat O'Rourke '90 emphasized that North Olmsted (14-14) definitely has good players.
“They were running two lines, so it's hard (for North Olmsted) to keep up for 45 minutes,” Coach O'Rourke said. “But he (Tim Murphy) is a good coach, he's legendary. We know that his kids are going to be well-schooled. They could be dangerous in the state tournament.
“But I think we just had too much depth. We kind of wore them down after awhile. There's no reason to be down or panic (when North Olmsted scored the first goal). Keep pumping the puck at them and eventually it will probably go in. And if it doesn't, that's life.”
*Note to the outstanding teachers at Saint Ignatius: If the members of the hockey team and the award-winning SIBN are caught yawning in class on Thursday, it is not because they are bored. Wednesday night's game was delayed over 30 minutes because of the Lake Catholic-Strongsville overtime situation and it was nearly 11 P.M. when the Wildcats were leaving the Coyne Recreation Center.
Lake Catholic-Saint Ignatius Baron Cup hockey recap.
Posted on 2/12/11 at 11:27 p.m.
Another overtime setback prevents the 'Cats from playing for that elusive Baron Cup.
An emotional Lake Catholic Team rallies from a 3-0 deficit after the first period and goes on to its second consecutive overtime victory in Baron Cup play.
By Eddie Dwyer
Copyright, Feb. 2011
For more than 15 minutes on Saturday night, Saint Ignatius appeared to be headed for its second consecutive Baron Cup championship game.
The Wildcats, scoring three times in the first period and keeping Lake Catholic off the scoreboard until late in the second period, looked like the team that entered the Baron Cup I semifinal game with a 28-5 record and riding a 12-game winning streak.
However, after Cougars gifted all-around athlete Tommy Michals scored off an assist from Brad Rosser with 1 minute, 12 seconds remaining in the second period, that fickle friend known as momentum started icing his way toward the Lake Catholic bench.
And the emotion that followed only added fuel to the Cougars' rallying fire.
Lake Catholic, scoring three times after teammate Nigel Bennett was injured with 11:35 left in the third period, defeated top-seeded and Red North Division champion Saint Ignatius, 4-3, in overtime.
With the victory, the Cougars (12-15-4) advance to tomorrow's Baron Cup I championship game against defending BC champion University School (17-9-5). The puck is scheduled to drop in Brooklyn's John M. Coyne Recreation Center at 5:30 p.m.
Saint Ignatius, which won both of its Red North Division matchups against Lake Catholic this season, including a 5-3 victory two weeks ago on the Brooklyn ice, was defeated during Baron Cup play in overtime for the third consecutive year. The 'Cats lost to University School in OT during the BC semifinals two seasons ago and were defeated by the Preppers in overtime last year in what was a memorable Baron Cup I title game. Saint Ignatius' last Baron Cup championship came in February of 1992.
“Giving up a goal late in the second period changed it a little bit, but I still thought we were in good shape,” said Wildcats head coach Pat O'Rourke '90. “But obviously they get the penalties and see their teammate hurt, and they're pumped up to win the game for him.”
The penalties Coach O'Rourke referred to were both called on Saint Ignatius' outstanding junior center and captain Paddy Spellacy. Paddy was given a 5-minute major for “checking from behind” on Bennett and then, after Bennett was attended to on the ice and eventually taken by ambulance to MetroHealth Medical Center, officials ruled that Paddy would also receive a game disqualification penalty.
Before he left the ice, Paddy skated over to Bennett and Bennett's parents to express his concern. Off video from the game, it appeared that Bennett was already falling off-balance to the ice before contact with the boards. There was no malicious intent, but the rules state that the disqualification penalty had to be called.
With the disqualification penalty, Paddy, said Coach O'Rourke, will have to sit out the next two games for the defending state champions, which are both OHSAA tournament games. The Wildcats open tournament play on Feb. 21 against Parma. Spellacy, who has 35 goals and 30 assists this season, is Saint Ignatius' all-time goals, assists and points leader.
“They were saying that if a player gets hurt or the ambulance comes, it's mandatory (the disqualification penalty),” Coach O'Rourke said. “But we just watched it on tape, it should have been a 2-minute hook. “I just talked to the (Lake Catholic) coach and he said the kid is going to be okay, so I feel comfortable saying that. If someone hits a player from behind it's a dangerous play and we don't tolerate that, condone it or encourage it.”
Saint Ignatius, which is now looking for history to repeat itself, rebounded from last season's Baron Cup loss by going on to win the OHSAA state championhip. The 'Cats defeated University School, 5-1, and Sylvania Northview, 4-1, in the final four.
As for Saturday night, Saint Ignatius looked like world beaters in the first period. Standout junior forward Mike Abood scored off an assist from Spellacy, an authoritave rebound stick side, and the 'Cats led, 1-0, with the game seven minutes old.
Gifted junior forward Liam Geither had fans, both partial and neutral, applauding his effort, as Liam, behind a highlight-reel move, scored off an unassisted back-hander with just over three minutes to go in the first period. It was Geither's 25th lamp lighter of the season.
With 1:54 left in the first period, senior co-captain Kevin Joseph made it 3-0 by taking an assist from sophomore defender Joey Malone and firing home a lazer from the blue line.
But that would be the last offensive spark from the 'Cats, as after Michals' momentum goal, the Cougars sent the game into sudden-victory overtime on third-period goals by Andrew Mitch and Patrick Dunning. Dunning's goal came shortly after a big-time glove save by Lake Catholic goalie Keith Parker.
The Cougars, who advanced to Saturday's game by defeating Strongsville, 5-4, in overtime during Wednesday's quarterfinals, scored the game-winner with 3:09 remaining in the 8-minute overtime. Luke Turk did the honors off an assist from Mitch.
“We just have to deal with it, we won't appeal it,”said Coach O'Rourke of having to play the first two tournament games without his team's top all-around player, one of the best the state has to offer. “We don't want to lose Paddy for two games or anybody for any games. If somebody does something maliciously, we would sit him for more games ourselves.
“The person's hurt and you're worried about that. But I have to be honest, I didn't think it was our player's fault.”
COACH O'ROURKE AND FIVE WILDCATS EARN POSTSEASON HONORS.
POSTED ON 2/15/11.
Congratulations go out to Saint Ignatius head varsity hockey coach Pat O'Rourke '90, who was chosen as Coach of the Year in the Red North Division, and to five of his mainstays for being selected to either the Greater Cleveland High School Hockey League's All-Red North Division or Red All-League Teams.
Named to the first team on the All-Red North Division squad were 'Cats junior captain and forward Paddy Spellacy, sophomore forward Miles McQuinn and junior defenseman Will Smith. Junior forward Mike Abood was selected to the third team.
Chosen for the Red All-League team were first-team selections Spellacy and McQuinn, and third-team picks Abood and senior goalie Josh Potts.
Spellacy, the Wildcats' all-time leader in goals, assists and points, has 35 goals and 30 assists this season and McQuinn, in his first season with Saint Ignatius' hockey program, has 43 goals (ties the school record set by Paddy last season) and 29 assists.
Mike Abood will enter the OHSAA district tournament with 18 goals and 37 assists.
Coach O'Rourke, who has guided the 'Cats to a 28-6 record and a championship in the rugged Red North Division, will lead his team against Parma on Monday, Feb. 21 in what will be Saint Ignatius' opening game in the annual OHSAA Brooklyn District. The puck will drop in the John M. Coyne Recreation Center at 8 p.m.
*Thanks go out to Saint Ignatius hockey enthusiast Chirs Abood '11, Mike's brother, for providing the all-division and all-league selections. We will see you Monday at The Big House on Memphis Avenue, the tradition-rich home of area high school hockey.
Parma versus Saint Ignatius in OHSAA postseason tournament hockey.
Posted on 2/21/11 at 11:46 p.m.
The Wildcats skate and shoot to a 10-goal rule victory over the Redmen in the Brooklyn District.
McQuinn tallies his 44th and Zickes strikes twice as nine different players light the lamp for the 'Cats.
By Eddie Dwyer
Copyright, February, 2011
Saint Ignatius' talented forward Miles McQuinn started the Wildcats' 10-goal performance on Monday night by slapping home his 44th lamp lighter of the season and, in the process, establishing a new single-season school record for goals scored.
After Saint Ignatius defeated Parma, 10-0, in a game out of the Brooklyn District that was called after two periods because of the 10-goal rule, McQuinn, just a sophomore, displayed a maturity beyond his years.
“For me, it's only motivation to work harder,” said McQuinn, who helped Coach Pat O'Rourke's team improve to 29-6. “Now that I hit 44, my job is not done. The ultimate goal is to win a state championship.”
McQuinn surpassed the mark of 43 goals set by Paddy Spellacy during last year's state-championship season. A junior, Paddy is the 'Cats' all-time leader in goals scored, assists and points.
“Paddy Spellacy is a great hockey player,” McQuinn said. “Obviously, he's wearing the C (Captain) for a reason. We've racked up a lot of goals together this season (35 by Spellacy), and it's all to help the team out.”
McQuinn set the tempo on Monday night by scoring off assists from junior forwards Liam Geither and Colton Riemenschneider with the game just a minute and 45 seconds old.
Despite some gutsy work by Parma goalie Nate Tracy, who faced constant pressure, Saint Ignatius would score three more times in the first period. Tracy had 37 saves and Wildcats junior goalie Matt Kovesdy had 10 saves en route to the shutout.
Sophomore forward/defenseman Nick Rimpf scored his first goal of the season, with the assist going to junior defenseman Will Smith. Junior forward Mike Abood took assists from junior center Paul Zickes and sophomore defenseman Joey Malone and lit the lamp for the 19th time this winter, and sophomore forward Mike Avdey made it 4-0 by tallying off assists from junior forward Taylor Wolf and senior forward Jason Petraska.
The Wildcats, who advanced to Saturday's noon matchup with Elyria Catholic (12-18) at Brooklyn's John M. Coyne Recreation Center, settled the issue with a six-bagger in the second period.
Doing the honors were senior forward and assistant captain Kevin Joseph, junior forward Eamonn Walsh, Zickes, Wolf, Riemenschneider and Zickes again.
Abood racked up three assists in the second period, giving him 40 on the season, and also hitting the assist column in the final 15 minutes were junior defenseman Jacques DeVilliers, Joseph twice, Petraska, Avdey, McQuinn and Geither. The gifted Geither also has 40 assists this winter.
“It's tough, they're good guys over there (at Parma) so you don't want to embarrass them or anything, that's for sure,” said Coach O'Rourke '90. “They (the Redmen) worked hard and had a few chances themselves, so I think they were probably pretty happy with their effort. For us, it was don't get hurt, don't get penalties, get through it and move on.
“The next game is going to be different,” Coach O'Rourke continued. “We just watched Elyria Catholic play (an 8-1 victory over Trinity). They have some good players and they're a Red (South) team, so they have played a little bit better competition. No more fooling around, this is when they eliminate people. It's all business.”
SAINT IGNATIUS' MEN OF THE ICE ADVANCE TO A SEMIFINAL MATCHUP WITH THE BRUINS. MCQUINN'S HAT TRICK HELPS SHOW THE WAY.
POSTED ON 2/26/11
Saint Ignatius' varsity hockey team turned back Elyria Catholic, 7-4, on Saturday afternoon in the OHSAA Brooklyn District Tournament.
Coach Pat O'Rourke's Wildcats will take a record of 30-6 into Tuesday night's district semifinal matchup with the Padua Bruins. The puck will drop in the John M. Coyne Recreation Center at 7 p.m.
Saint Ignatius' sophomore center/forward Miles McQuinn came up with a hat trick against the EC Panthers and also lighting the lamp for the defending state champs were standout junior forwards Mike Abood and Liam Geither (three assists), senior assistant captain and forward/defenseman Kevin Joseph and senior defenseman and assistant captain Pete Bobulsky.
McQuinn, the Wildcats' all-time leader for goals in a single season, now has 47 lamp lighters this winter.
Padua versus Saint Ignatius District Semifinal Hockey Recap.
The Wildcats are turned back, 4-1, as Padua's gifted and gritty goalie Justin Goebel puts together an outstanding performance.
Pivotal goal in the final seconds of the second period also tells the tale.
Posted on 3/1/11.
By Eddie Dwyer
Copyright, March 2011
Saint Ignatius' head hockey coach Pat O'Rourke '90 has too much knowledge of the game and too much respect for it than to try to sugarcoat or offer excuses after his Wildcats were defeated by the Padua Bruins, 4-1, in Tuesday night's semifinal of the OHSAA Brooklyn District.
Instead, Coach O'Rourke gave credit exactly where it was due.
“They have a lot of talent over there (at Padua) and the goalie, just unbelievable! We know him. He's excellent.”
Those in attendance at Brooklyn's John M. Coyne Recreation Center on Tuesday night who didn't know who Padua's goalie was, won't soon forget the name Justin Goebel.
With Goebel, one of the premier stoppers in Ohio, turning away 47 shots with an impressive repertoire of quick moves around the net, the Bruins improved to 21-16 and advanced to Saturday's 6 p.m. District Championship Game against the winner of Wednesday night's semifinal between Amherst Steele and St. Edward.
Saint Ignatius, which en route to the state championship last season defeated Padua in overtime in the district finals, closed out another memorable season at 30-7.
Coach O'Rourke, who led his team to another championship in the highly regarded Red North Division, has guided the 'Cats to 61 victories over the past two seasons.
“They played great,” O'Rourke said of Padua, a team his Wildcats defeated twice during the regular season, 2-0 and 5-1. “Honestly, at the beginning of the year we always felt that it was going to be us against them in the district final and it worked out to be one game earlier. We peppered him (Goebel) as much as we could, but we couldn't really solve him.”
In a game that featured two programs who have combined for five OHSAA state ice hockey championships, including three by the Bruins, Padua, after a frantic battle in front of the net, took a 1-0 lead on a goal by senior forward David Nowak. Senior forward Nick Placko was credited with the assist as the score came with 6 minutes and 4 seconds gone in the first period.
With 12:08 remaining in the second period, the Bruins made it 2-0 on the first of two goals by junior forward Tyler Weeks. The assist went to Nowak, who had a sold all-around game.
The Wildcats, ranked second in the state coaches poll, temporarily grabbed the momentum when sophomore center/forward Miles McQuinn fired home his team-leading 48th goal of the season with 47.3 seconds left in the second period. Junior forwards Liam Geither and Colton Riemenschneider assisted on the goal.
But just when it appeared the 'Cats were back in it, Meeks was there for the rebound or the bounce on the glove side with 13.9 seconds to go in the second period, and slapped in a lamp lighter that was the turning-point play of the night. Placko tallied his second assist as Padua took a 3-1 lead into the final 15 minutes.
“I thought we had momentum and we gave it right back to them,” Coach O'Rourke said. “That really hurt, obviously. But those things happen in hockey. In a one-game scenario, anything can happen.”
Goebel, a senior, was almost a one-man show in the final 15 minutes as the All-Red North Division selection, turning to a variety of instinctive and split-second reaction pad, glove, stick and diving saves, turned away 19 shots in the third period alone.
Saint Ignatius junior goalie Matt Kovesdy had 35 saves.
The game's final score came on an empty-net goal by Bruins junior forward Mike Palasics with 25.7 seconds remaining.
“We have nothing to be ashamed of, I told those guys I love them and I'm proud of them,” said Coach O'Rourke, after he addressed his players in the locker room. “They'll pick each other up. They're sad, obviously, but the seniors told them to 'Go get them next year.'
“They know they're part of a good thing here at Saint Ignatius,” O'Rourke continued. “We have a good program that will keep going. We wish we could have repeated this year, but it wasn't in the cards tonight, it wasn't meant to be.
"We put all kinds of shots on that guy (Goebel) and he was equal to the test. God Bless him, it was a great performance."