The Cardinal O’Hara Lions’ ice hockey team prevailed on offense throughout the second period and secured a 7-3 victory over the Archbishop Ryan Raiders in the ICSHL Philadelphia Catholic League Blue Division championship game March 2 at the Skatium in Havertown.
“Players showed up from the start of the game,” said Cardinal O’Hara head coach Ed Banes. “It was tough with the officiating. They kept their cool.”
This marked O’Hara’s first league Blue Division title since 2010 when it also claimed the PIAA Class AAA state championship. The Lions improved their overall record to 13-5 on the season and remained undefeated in the Catholic League at 12-0.
The Raiders dropped to 9-8-1 overall and 7-4-1 in the league. They knew going into this crucial match that O’Hara would not be easy.
“They’re a fast team,” said Archbishop Ryan head coach John Hunter. “We lost to O’Hara twice in the regular season. They blocked a ton of shots.”
Late in the first period, O’Hara defender Jon Melanchuk found the net with a power play goal for a 1-0 advantage. Forwards Liam McCanney and Jacob Pohlig both assisted on the goal. Ryan immediately snatched the lead away as forward Dominick Cerceo scored with forward Shawn Connolly assisting and the game was tied after one stanza.
O’Hara rapidly turned things around in the new period. Forward Justin Boornazian registered a goal off a feed by defender Nick Donato and that gave the Lions a permanent lead. Defender Matt Bendyna scored followed by Boornazian and Donato.
Boornazian completed his hat trick with 7:45 to play in the stanza. McCanney extended the lead to 7-1 with his second goal of the night. Forwards John Paul Ahearn and Zac Deemer assisted.
The Raiders proved they were not out of energy in the final period. Forward Tyler Giwerowski scored off a feed by forward Nicholas Verrecchio with 6:14 in regulation. Teammate and forward Josh Davis tallied a goal with 33 seconds on the clock. Forward Jonathan Kernahan provided the assist.
Leading the way for O’Hara’s defense was goalkeeper Angelo Losardo with a total of 22 saves.
“Angelo played well,” said Banes. “Defense played well too.”
Ryan goalkeepers Kevin Flynn and Fran McClain combined for 31 saves.
“Fran gave up three goals in the second period,” said Hunter. “We rotate goalies after three goals.”
As the no. 5 seed, Cardinal O’Hara opened up its 2017 Flyers Cup AAA action Thursday, March 9 in the quarterfinal round taking on fourth-seeded Malvern Prep.
“We’re excited for the match with Malvern,” Banes after the Catholic League championship.
Sixth-seeded Archbishop Ryan takes on third-seeded St. Joseph’s Prep in the Flyers Cup quarterfinals also on March 9.
“We feel good,” said Hunter. “We’re a young team, a little inexperienced. We’re pretty healthy.”