HIGH SCHOOL HOCKEY Boardman grabs league crown, 5-1
For the second time in three years the Spartans beat Mooney-Ursuline.
By GREG GULAS
BOARDMAN -- The scene was an all too familiar one.
For the second time in the past three seasons Boardman High and Mooney-Ursuline met in the Northeast Ohio High School Hockey League club championship game.
And for the second time the Spartans skated off with the Commissioner's trophy, winning 5-1 at The Ice Zone on Sunday night.
"We wanted to start strong and get the jump on them," Spartan coach Matt Pusatari said. "We were lucky in that we got three quick goals then settled in to our trap defense.
"Our defense has been the key to our success all season long and tonight was no different," he added. "We ... trapped all year and tonight it worked to our advantage."
Fourth straight appearance: The Spartans (14-2-2) now played for the title all four years that the league has been in existence and have won the last three championships. Their only loss was to Mohawk, 6-4, in 1999, the league's inaugural campaign.
While the Spartans celebrated at center ice, Mooney-Ursuline (10-5-1) felt the sting of another runner-up trophy, something coach Todd Smith wants to rectify as he already cast an eye toward next season.
"This was definitely the wrong time for us to play our worst game of the year," he said. "We dug a hole early that we could not get out of. "When we settled down we played the way that we are capable of playing. It was too little too late, however."
Josh Congelio, the Most Valuable Player of the tournament, got Boardman on the board just 1 minute, 10 seconds into the game, scoring the first of his two goals on the night.
Derek Allen assisted Tim Cerimele at 11:26 of the opening period and Congelio scored again just 36 seconds later to give the Spartans a 3-0 lead.
"Josh Congelio always gives 110 percent, both in practice and in the game," Pusatari said. "He's non-stop, wearing his heart on his sleeve.
"He's always most upset when we lose so it was great to see him help us to that early advantage."
Strong defense: The defense of the Spartans' Allen and Gabe Manganelli limited Mooney-Ursuline to just six shots on goal in the first period, their first coming at 8:31 after eight Boardman shots resulted in those three quick goals.
Freshman Bobby Walla's unassisted goal at 13:51 of the second period increased the Spartan advantage to 4-0, and Cerimele assisted Bill Maloney at 8:27 to make it 5-0.
Spartan goalie Chris Collins, a back-up who has been pressed into action the last six games (he is 6-0 with two shutouts during that span) stopped 23 shots but lost his bid for a third shutout at 2:04 of the second period when Eric Smith, assisted by Joel Tacsik, scored Mooney-Ursuline's only goal.
The third period was scoreless as Boardman out-shot Mooney-Ursuline 11-1.
"Two players that need to be singled out for us are senior captain Joey Toth and defenseman Steve Scott," Smith said. "They have been the heartbeat of this team without much fanfare all season long. Their play tonight was quite noticeable, albeit in a losing effort."
In addition to Congelio's two goals, Cerimele had a goal and an assist and Tyler Miller two assists for the Spartans.