Weekly Feature

2013-12-11 / Sports

St. Joe’s remains as one of area’s top teams

Boys Federation hockey
Sports Reporter

It took the St. Joe’s Federation ice hockey team a little bit longer to secure its first win of the season than in recent memory, but the Marauders are still one of Western New York’s top teams.

The season opened with a 4-2 loss to Frontier on Dec. 1 — it was the Marauders’ first loss since Dec. 27, 2012. Last season the Marauders were undefeated in New York State; therefore, it was also their first Federation loss in quite some time.

To add salt to the wound, St. Joe’s captain — senior defenseman Paul LoVullo — broke his collarbone during the game. He was hit behind the net late in the game and will be out for the next six to eight weeks.

“It was tough for us not only to lose the game, but also to lose our captain,” said head coach Rich Crozier. “It was a bit of a wake-up call for us.”

Fellow senior defenseman, and assistant captain, John Schmidt will now have a larger role on the back line with the loss of LoVullo.

“John is really strong and has sound positional technique,” said Crozier. “He is a physical force, and we can lean on him on the back end.”

The Marauders responded with a 4-0 victory in their next game against Shenendehowa on Friday in Saratoga Springs as part of the Don Kauth Memorial Hockey Tournament.

Leading the way for the Marauders was junior Dom Perna, who scored a goal and two assists. Senior goalie Peter Chopra recorded the shutout in his first career Federation game, stopping all 32 shots.

“We are so thrilled for Peter to get his first career Federation shutout in his first game,” said Crozier. “He played extremely well. I felt that our team gained momentum off of his superb play.”

Senior James Bassett scored on the power play in the first period with a quick five-hole shot. Then early in the second period, junior Brad Kaminski recorded his first career Federation goal on the power play with a low shot from the blue line.

The Marauders’ third goal was a result of a very strong shift in the Shenendehowa zone. Sophomore Matthew Barnaby Jr. banked the puck off the goalie and in the net from a near-impossible angle.

Late in the second period, Perna sealed the game when his quick shot off the rush beat the goalie on the far side.

In the championship game, the Marauders were blanked by defending state champion Saratoga, 5-1.

The lone highlight for the Marauders came on the power play, when junior Matt Ruggiero recorded his third point of the tournament by burying a rebound in front of the net.

Junior goalie Ben Higgins recorded 18 saves in the loss.

Chopra was named to the All-Tournament team.

“While we are disappointed not to win the Championship, we leave Saratoga with a better understanding about our team's strengths and weaknesses,” said Crozier. “We proved to ourselves this weekend that we can compete at a very high level.”

Interestingly, the Marauders’ roster has three LoVullo siblings — including twin brothers Paul and Harlan, and younger brother Griffen.

Harlan is a forward on the top line along with Perna and Bassett. Griffen is a young addition to the roster and is battling his way through limited action.

“We are proud to have all three LoVullo siblings on the team,” said Crozier. “They all have worked extremely hard and have earned their right to be on the team.”

St. Joe’s has a few highlights on the schedule this season, including an outdoor game on Saturday, Dec. 21, at Frontier Park in Rochester and traveling to Providence, R.I., for the Mount St. Charles Tournament.

The Marauders will be playing the outdoor game against Mc- Quaid just one week after the Rochester Americans (minor league affiliate for the Buffalo Sabres) play their own outdoor game at the same location. St. Joe’s was the only Section VI team invited to play there.

The Mount St. Charles Tournament holds eight teams and includes reigning state champion teams from Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

“It’s an incredible tournament that has the strongest schools on the East Coast,” said Crozier.

The only two losses last season for the Marauders came in that tournament.

email: brandonk@beenews.com

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