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Terriers fight their way past Stanners, 4-3

As captain of the St. Francis Prep hockey team, it is in Dan McCloskey’s job description to be a leader on and off the ice. When the game plan calls for a hard-hitting, aggressive forecheck, as was the case against CHSHL B Division rivals Archbishop Molloy Friday night, the senior from College Point is at his best.

From the opening face-off at Abe Stark Arena on Coney Island, the 5-foot-6 forward set the tone by hitting hard and hitting often, leading the Terriers to a 4-3 win over the rival Stanners.

“Our guys try to pound in that aggressive mentality,” said McCloskey, who had a pair of assists. “The harder we hit, the less they want to play.”

It was the first time the two Queens rivals met in league play in two years, when both were in the CHSHL’s C Division. St. Francis Prep senior defensemen Steve Cameron remembered it like it was yesterday.

“It was the total opposite two years ago. They completely outhit us,” the Bayside native said. “Danny is by far our best hitter and we thrive off of him. Our game plan is to skate and hit, that’s been our motto from day one.”

McCloskey’s hard hitting took its toll on Molloy (5-8-2, 2-4-2), especially when Stanners sophomore Jimmy Grogan was knocked out of game at 5:43 of the first period with a fractured left wrist as a result of McCloskey’s open ice check.

Grogan had his head down and at the last second saw McCloskey charging toward him. McCloskey’s check, which wasn’t particularly dangerous and was certainly not his hardest of the night, twisted around Grogan, who immediately dropped his gloves and stick and quickly skated toward the Molloy bench.

“I clipped him but his wrist was turned in,” McCloskey said. “It must have snapped in. It wasn’t a big hit or anything.”

Grogan’s screams of pain could be heard throughout the arena as the game was postponed for more than 20 minutes while an ambulance was called to the scene. Grogan, who suffered a stress fracture in his left forearm earlier in the season, was taken to Lutheran Medical Center in Brooklyn.

Grogan’s injury seemed to have a lasting effect on the Stanners, who fell behind 1-0 a little more than two minutes later when Cameron skated around a Molloy defenseman and beat goaltender Adrian Podpirka low to the stick side.

“Molloy is a good team, but we created our chances and our forecheck kept them bottled up in the neutral zone,” said St. Francis Prep coach Billy Turner. “And Danny played well tonight. He’s a very good captain on the ice. He led his team well.”

While the Stanners did manage to tie the game at 1 on Matt Davino’s backhand in front of the net, St. Francis Prep (5-5 CHSHL B) roared back with three consecutive goals, Cameron’s second and two by James Bertorelli, to take a commanding 4-1 lead into the third period.

“[Grogan’s injury] took our minds out of the game,” said Molloy captain Joey Evangelista. “When they scored three goals was when we thought we have to forget about it.”

Molloy took the play to the Terriers in the third period as goals by Paul LiVecchi and Mike Sangiamo just over a minute apart cut the Stanners’ deficit to 4-3 midway through the period. But Molloy, which outshot St. Francis Prep 28-24 and played the final 1:29 with an extra skater as a result of pulling Podpirka, couldn’t net the equalizer.

“We’re not really a physical team,” said Molloy head coach Richie Rodgers. “We just made a lot of defensive mistakes and that’s what really cost us.”

Christ the King 6, St. Peter’s 3. Jakub Kubak netted a hat trick, Joey Kemerson had two goals, Bobby Glade had a goal and two assists and Carmello Stracuzzi added four assists for Christ the King (3-4-1 CHSHL B) Monday at Murray Rink in Yonkers. The Royals scored five power play goals in the win.

Christ the King 10, St. Joseph by the Sea 3. Stracuzzi had four goals, John Del Rios and Kubak added a goal and two assists apiece and Glade had a goal Sunday at Abe Stark Arena on Coney Island.

Holy Cross 4, St. Raymond’s 4. Tom Dooley scored the game-tying goal with 6:38 left in the third period for the Knights Friday at Abe Stark Arena. Chris Wagner, Mike Vohs and Jon Price also scored for Holy Cross (10-4-1, 6-2-1 CHSHL C).

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

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