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Cammarata records shutout in Cross win over Xavier

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For four days, Matt Cammarata had no answer for nagging flu-like symptoms. But Sunday at Abe Stark Arena, the Holy Cross freshman goaltender got something better than any over-the-counter cold-and-flu medicine — his first high school shutout.

The Glendale resident made 17 saves and got some third period support in the form of three goals in the Knights’ 3-0 win over CHSHL C division rival Xavier.

“I feel great. It’s the best feeling to get my first shutout as a freshman on the varsity team,” Cammarata said. “Go figure, when I’m healthy I give up a couple of bad goals and when I’m hacking up a lung I get a shutout.”

Cammarata’s outstanding performance was exactly what the doctor ordered for a Holy Cross team that could not execute its breakout and struggled defensively.

“He came back and had a strong game after giving up two weak goals last game,” said Holy Cross head coach Mike Mitchell, who admitted he wasn’t even sure Cammarata would show up at the rink because of his illness. “He picked up the defense tonight, he picked up the whole team.”

Cammarata set the tone just 22 seconds into the game when he made a tough glove save on Ralph Marucci, who took the open wrist shot after eluding his Holy Cross defender.

“If you start out shaky, it takes a while to get back in the game but if you start out with a good save, you’re basically ready for the rest of the game,” Cammarata said. “If I make a good first save, I usually feel I’m going to play a pretty good game.”

Midway through the second period of a scoreless game, Cammarata made one of his best saves of the game as Tim Spillane picked up the puck at the blue line and had a shorthanded breakaway. But Cammarata made the clutch stop on the backhand in front to preserve the tie.

Through two periods though, the Knights gave Cammarata absolutely no support. Whenever Holy Cross (12-4-1, 7-2-1) tried to move the puck up ice, the drive stalled because of bad passing. Instead of crisply hitting a teammate with a pass, the puck caromed off skate blades or bounced over sticks.

“I told them between the first and second period that our breakout is horrible,” Mitchell said. “We must work on it 30 minutes each and every practice but it’s just not sinking in.”

With the breakout not an option, Holy Cross went to Plan B in the offensive zone: Drive to the net.

The plan worked perfectly as the Knights finally beat Xavier goaltender James Starace with 7:55 left in the third period as Joe Temperini’s wrist shot stick side on a 3-on-1 break put the Knights in front 1-0.

“I saw Ray [Wilson] open on the other side. Their defenseman was standing in the middle and the goalie gave me the whole left side of the net,” Temperini said. “We have to work on our breakout, though. It was horrendous tonight.”

Just 45 seconds later Holy Cross made it 2-0 when Ray Wilson skated down the wing and in front of the net and beat Starace low for a shorthanded tally.

One of the few passes that did make contact resulted in Holy Cross’ third goal as Wilson connected with Jon Price, whose one-timer trickled past Starace to increase Xavier’s (3-6) deficit to three goals with 3:30 left in the third period.

“I just saw open ice and I wasn’t trying to pass it. That wasn’t working out,” Wilson said of his goal. “The only good pass I had was on Price’s goal.”

Archbishop Molloy 5, St. Edmund 2. Matt Davino had two goals and one assist, John O’Hare, Chris Pisarski and Joe Evangelista also scored for the Stanners Friday at Abe Stark Arena on Coney Island. Andrew Lind and Chris Healy scored for St. Edmund.

Archbishop Molloy 2, St. Francis Prep 2. Paul LiVecchi scored both Molloy goals and Maxx Kleiner and James Bertorelli scored for St. Francis Prep in a game played Jan. 23 at Nassau Coliseum.

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

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