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Molloy Stanners skate to comeback win over St. Peter’s, 7-5

Trailing St. Peter’s 4-2 late in the second period and knowing how the team has struggled in third periods this season, it was not shaping up to be a great regular season finale for the Molloy hockey team Saturday at the Ice Hutch in Mount Vernon.

After Sean Kearney brought Molloy to within one heading into the third period, there were no magical words spoken by Stanners head coach Richie Rodgers. But something clicked as Molloy came out and played its best period all season, rallying to defeat the Eagles, 7-5.

“As long as we play an up-tempo game and get lots of shots, we should win,” said Kearney, who had two goals and one assist. “We were just looking up, passing quickly. We just out-passed them.”

The Stanners’ second line of Kearney, John O’Hare and Andy Anastasio was instrumental in the come-from-behind win, totaling three goals and six assists, including two of Molloy’s four third-period goals.

“They set the tempo in the beginning, but in the third period we did,” said O’Hare, who had three assists. “We were more patient with our passes in the third period. It was just looking for the open man.”

It was also getting the puck on net.

Rodgers has preached the importance of quantity as opposed to quality when it comes to shots on net and the Stanners learned why in the third period.

Molloy (6-6-4 CHSHL B) tied the game at 4 on Anastasio’s low slap shot through a screen. After Andrew Russo put St. Peter’s (7-7-1 CHSHL B) back ahead, 5-4, Chris Pisarski sent what appeared to be a harmless slap shot from along the boards at the blue line toward the net.

The puck hit Mike Ruggerio’s blocker and somehow trickled over the goal line as Molloy, which outshot St. Peter’s 31-14, tied the game at 5 with 10:38 left in regulation.

Joey Evangelista netted what proved to be the game-winner, stuffing in a second-chance rebound with 5:06 left and Kearney added an insurance tally with a blistering wrist shot off the crossbar a minute later. Paul LiVecchi and Stan Kowalski also scored for Molloy.

“It’s been a crazy year. We just haven’t been able to put it all together,” Rodgers said. “Tonight, in the third period, we put it all together. The kids came back with a vengeance and played with an attitude.”

CHSHL playoff picture

A year after winning the CHSHL ‘C’ title, St. Francis Prep (9-5-2) finished atop the ‘B’ division, earning a bye into the best-of-three semifinal round. That series against the winner of the quarterfinal game, begins Saturday at 8:40 p.m. at the Ice Hutch.

Christ the King (6-5-5) is the No. 2 seed and also gets a free pass into the semifinals. Pat Boller’s squad opens its best-of-three series Saturday at 9:30 p.m. in Seacacus, N.J.

Molloy is currently in third place, but is ahead of St. Peter’s by one point. If St. Peter’s wins its final game against St. Joseph by the Sea, the Stanners finish fourth and play St. Edmund in a one-game quarterfinal match Thursday at 8:45 p.m. at Murray Rink in Yonkers. Should St. Peter’s lose, Molloy remains in third and will play St. Joe’s Friday at 10 p.m. at Abe Stark Rink on Coney Island.

In the CHSHL C division, Holy Cross (10-3-2) earns a bye into the semifinals thanks to its second-place finish behind Salesian. Cardinal Spellman locked up the third seed, but St. Raymond, Monsignor McClancy and Xavier are fighting it out for the final three playoff berths in the final days of the regular season.

Salesian 4, Holy Cross 1. Tom Mele had two goals and one assist, John Bykowski and Cira Tevranova netted a goal apiece and Frank Basci and Tom Guerriera each had two assists to lead Salesian (12-2-1 CHSHL C) past Holy Cross Saturday at the Ice Hutch. Mike Vohs scored the lone Knights goals, assisted by Bryan Benini and Keith Smith.

Christ the King 3, Molloy 3. Trailing 3-1 late in the third period, the Royals rallied to score two power play goals in the final 2:45 to tie the game Friday at Murray Rink. Bobby Glade, Carmello Stracuzzi and Michael Whalen scored for Christ the King while Kearney, Matt Davino and Stan Kowalski netted Molloy’s goals.

Holy Cross 1, Cardinal Spellman 1. Eric Mistretta netted the lone Holy Cross goal from Tom Dooley while Patrick Tracey scored for Spellman Friday at Abe Stark Rink.

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

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