The senior members of the Chaminade varsity hockey squad gave their mothers a present Friday night – small individual bouquets of flowers, commemorations of one of their final games in their high school careers.
Thirty-six minutes later they gave themselves a gift – staving off the end of their season by beating Iona 2-1 at the Abe Stark Rink in Coney Island.
“I was telling the boys ‘you know you don’t have enough breathing room,” head coach Frank Bendl said. “That’s the difference between going up three-nothing and 2-1, whoever gets that next goal makes life miserable and it is miserable.”
Miserable the Flyers had been after staying in cruise control in Game 1, holding a comfortable 3-1 lead when the Gaels unleashed an onslaught in the last 5 minutes to win 4-3.
That was Monday night, giving the Flyers plenty of time to mull on their loss and let it fester.
“We kind of fell apart defensively,” senior Joe Anile said Friday. “We let them back into the game when we shouldn’t have.”
Unforgiveable given was that Chaminade had a 2-man powerplay in the interim.
Even more unforgiveable that the Flyers had handed Iona their hat three times during the regular season and coasted into the series thinking they could glide past the Gaels in the opening round.
“They’re a little bit more dangerous than I thought they were this particular game,” Bendl said. “They played a better game today than they did last game and they beat us.”
About three minutes into the game, Anile was able to score the first goal from a shot at the top of the circle that ricocheted off the right pipe into the net.
“He came out like a pitbull tonight,” head coach Frank Bendl said. “He’s got a real hard shot so he kinda caught them by surprise a little bit.”
Three more minutes later, forward James Henry made the tally 2-0. Chaminade was able to keep the Gaels off the board until the third Denaghy scored on Flyer goalie Brandon DeStasio.
“He’s got a great mindset, he’s always going to bounce back, he’s going to be the guy that we can count on,” Anile said of the senior keeper.
Despite once again showing that he is human, DeStasio still ranks in the top two netminders in the league along with Dan Peterson, the goalie for St. Anthony’s, stopping 26 shots Friday night and will be in the crease Saturday night for Game 3.
“It’s all the work that you put into the offseason, it finally pays off now and there’s nothing like it,” Anile said, aware of the looming possibility of a rematch against St. Anthony’s, not only from the regular hockey season, but from his football career as well, if not yet ready to openly acknowledge it yet.
Such is the hockey mindset.
“During football we had a lot more consistency in the games, we had one game every week, a set date,” he said, noting they are lucky to get to practices in on the ice before a match. “In hockey there’s this sporadic schedule so not every game’s going to be a great game and we have to deal with that, it’s a little bit more tough.”
Tough, grueling, yes. But at least one night there was enough time for a little more breathing room; enough to stop and smell the flowers.123F Chaminade2 0 02Iona Prep 0 0 11
Chaminade Scoring StatisticsPlayerGoalsAssts. Joseph Anile 1 0 James Henry 1 1 Dillon Radin 0 2 Michael Minarczyk 0 1
Chaminade GoalkeepingGoalieShots Brandon DeStasio 25