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Lettire saves Terriers in key win over rival Knights

Holy Cross' Mike Muller (l.) and St. Francis Prep's Brian Murray battle for the puck. Photo by Yinghao Luo
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Daniel Lettire, a little over a year after being cut by Holy Cross, found himself in net for rival St. Francis Prep and standing between the Knights and first place.

Holy Cross didn’t make it easy. The junior goalie was tested immediately by a Stephen Pallos wrist shot from the slot. Lettire, who transferred to SFP last year, made the save and a minute later he made an even more impressive one on a backhanded shot from the hash marks.

It was just the start of a big night for Lettire, who made 22 saves to lead St. Francis Prep to a 5-3 victory over Holy Cross in CHSHL Class B hockey at Flushing Meadows Corona Park Monday night. The win gives the Terriers sole possession of first place in the division. Triumph was extra special for Lettire.

“I showed them,” he said. “I’m just really happy that I beat them. The coach didn’t take me last year and I wanted to prove him wrong.”

St. Francis Prep Coach Michael Watts is happy to have Lettire on his side and thought the game was the best of his career.

“He kept us in the game,” Watts said. “There were some shots that could have been goals, could have been game changers. He came up big for us.”

It was the third time these two teams have met this season. St. Francis (7-1) won the last two. The Terriers have a grander title in mind after the Knights (6-2) swept the best of three championship series last season.

“Once we win in the playoffs, then we can talk,” senior Aaron Acosta said.

Acosta helped St. Francis Prep to find its offense when he intercepted a pass at center ice, drove into the zone, and beat the goalie stick side to make it 2-0 with 5:33 left in the first period.

Tim Conway, of Holy Cross, scored on a put back from the left slot to make it 3-1 with 11:53 left in the second period. That didn’t last long, though, as Steven Leonard scored his second of the game to give SFP a 4-1 lead headed into the final period.

Holy Cross’ Cody Frucht scored off a feed from Pallos just 2:02 in the third period. A power-play goal by Steven Cacchioli with just 1:23 left in the game brought the Knights to within one, but an empty-netter by Tyler Murphy, his second goal of the game, gave the Terriers a 5-3 advantage they wouldn’t relinquish.

In their minds the win is only the beginning.

“We won this series and that’s great and everything,” Watts said. “You don’t have bragging rights until you win the whole thing, though, and that’s the only bragging rights you have.”

Updated 12:46 am, January 25, 2013
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