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St. Francis Prep outskates Xavier in final league game

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The Terriers played their most complete...

By Dylan Butler

In a battle for first place in the CHSHL ‘B’ division Sunday at Abe Stark Arena on Coney Island, St. Francis Prep sent a clear, concise message to the Xavier Knights: The road to the championship runs through us.

The Terriers played their most complete game of the season in the 5-3 victory. They hit hard and often defensively while goaltender Jason Black pounced on any and all loose pucks. Prep was fluid offensively, passing the puck crisply and making the most of its opportunities.

“After three years of playing, finally tonight, they played hockey,” said St. Francis Prep head coach Billy Turner.

The win improves Prep to 12-1 and avenged their lone loss, a 3-2 decision to Xavier (12-2) on Dec. 22.

“We know we’re going to play them again in the playoffs,” said Prep senior captain Adam Discepolo. “We wanted to set the tone and show them we could be the first-place team.”

From the outset, the game was played with playoff-type intensity in front of a large, boisterous crowd. After Steve Cameron put the Terriers ahead at 8:47 of the first period, it was the line of Discepolo, Dan McClosky and James Bertorelli that dominated the rest of the way.

The Terriers made the most of their lone power play with 3:30 left in the first period when Bertorelli picked up Ken D’Andrea’s blocked shot in front and beat Xavier goaltender James Starace low stick side to give Prep a two-goal lead.

The Terriers continued to pour it on in the second period as McClosky’s beautiful lead pass found Discepolo, who beat Starace low to the glove side on a breakaway to give Prep a 3-0 lead. Bertorelli also assisted on the tally.

Discepolo returned the favor with a cross-ice pass to McClosky, who put Prep ahead 4-0 on a wrist shot from the left side of the net with 4:14 left in the second period.

According to Turner, the Prep offense began with the puck handling of the Terriers defensemen.

“Our defensemen handle the puck well, we work on that a lot in practice,” Turner said. “In a 90-minute practice, we dedicate a full 30 minutes just to that.”

Black’s bid for a shutout was spoiled with 2:29 left in the second period when Mike Dziemian scored on a rebound of a Ralph Marucci shot.

Almost five minutes into the third period, Prep’s first line struck again as Starace stopped McClosky’s shot, but Bertorelli scored on the rebound. However, Discepolo was credited with his second goal of the game.

“Our line works hard in practice and it pays off in the game,” Discepolo said. “The other lines work just as hard, but we’re just a little more fortunate, I guess.”

Despite allowing two goals in the final 2:12 by Xavier captain Brian Kushner, Black was solid between the pipes for Prep. The junior from Middle Village made 23 saves and gave up very few rebounds to earn the win.

“He played a great game,” Discepolo said. “He covered up the rebounds and didn’t let up any garbage goals.”

Added D’Andrea: “Without Jason, it could’ve been tough. He saved me a couple of times.”

Mount St. Michael 3, Christ the King 0. The Royals fell to 4-7-3 Saturday at the Ice Hutch in Mount Vernon.

St. Edmund’s 6, Holy Cross 2. After staking the Eagles a 3-0 lead, Tim Fung and Niall Clancy scored to get the Knights (2-11) as close as 3-2, but St. Edmund’s scored three more goals to ice the win Friday at Abe Stark Arena.

St. Edmund’s 4, Molloy 3. John DiGregorio’s hat trick was not enough for the Stanners as the Eagles scored three third-period goals en route to the win Thursday at Abe Stark Arena. Alex Kalaf, Mike Sangiamo, Stan Kowalski and Nicky Wilk picked up assists for Molloy (5-8-1).

Reach Associate Sports Editor Dylan Butler by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 143.

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