LEWISTON — It never gets old for St. Joe’s hockey.
For the eighth time in 11 years, St. Joe’s is the New York State Catholic High School boys hockey champions, defeating St. Anthony’s of Long Island, 3-0, at Niagara University’s Dwyer Arena.
“This is a real special group,” said St. Joe’s coach Richard Crozier. “This is our 25th win of the season, 18th win in a row. We lost two games all year [to teams] not even in our state.”
St. Joe’s Dennis Gilbert was named MVP, scoring the third goal of the game in the second period, while Dimirtios Gogos recorded a goal and an assist and Nicholas George preserved the shutout with 14 saves.
The game took a dramatic turn during the final 13.9 seconds of the first period. After back-and-forth play from both teams through most of the period, which saw St. Anthony’s goalie Dan Peterson stand on his head and teammate Zach Andersen hit a post, Gogos opened the scoring for the Marauders on a wrist shot over the glove of Peterson.
Then, just trying to not let St. Anthony’s get a shot off the rest of the first period, St. Joe’s scored again right at the buzzer as Michael Hubert jammed one home after a scramble in the crease.
As the buzzer was going, the referee was emphatically pointing to the net, signaling the goal.
“Our goal was basically just get it down there so they don’t get a shot,” Hubert said. “I tried to get the wraparound and [Peterson] stuffed me, then kept going and going until I saw it cross the goal line and went nuts.”
Those final 13.9 seconds proved to be the straws that broke St. Anthony’s back as St. Joe’s dominated the rest of the championship game. The Marauders outshot St. Anthony’s, 31-5, during the second and third periods. Peterson finished with 47 saves and was the lone bright spot for the Friars.
“Our coach always said last-minute goals are inexcusable because how killer they are, and the fact that we got two in the final 15 seconds is phenomenal,” said Gilbert, who has verbally commited to play at Niagara. “Since then, we just had the confidence and just rolled with it.”
Gilbert scored a power-play goal in the second period where he walked in the slot and rifled one in the top of the net.
Gogos and Michael Iannello were credited with the assist.
The Marauders finished the year 25-2-1 and will graduate 10 seniors.
“I can’t tell you how proud I am of these boys and how hard they worked,” Crozier said. “It’s a special group, a very special group.”