St. Paul's forced to settle for 15-5 win Crusaders not satisfied with rout of Mt. St. Joseph

April 05, 1997|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

St. Paul's coach Rick Brocato criticized his offense. The Crusaders attackmen spoke of taking a step backward.

And that was after No. 5 St. Paul's pounded visiting No. 12 Mount St. Joseph, 15-5, yesterday.

Freshman attackman Conor Ford had four goals and one assist all in the first half, and junior attackman Conor Gill added two goals and five assists for St. Paul's.

Although the Crusaders (5-1) scored on half of their shots, they either missed cutters over the middle or took too many chances to create one-on-one opportunities.

"We did not play well offensively," Brocato said. "We played very selfish. We're capable of playing much better."

After the Gaels (8-4) tied the score at 1, the Crusaders scored four goals in three minutes to pull out to a 5-1 lead.

Gill put St. Paul's back ahead at 2-1, taking a clear near midfield and scoring from seven yards out.

A minute later, Ford took a pass from Carter Wornom and scored on a no-look flip over his shoulder. Ford then took a pass from Gill off a restart and converted a point-blank shot in the crease to push the lead to 4-1 with 2: 55 remaining in the first quarter.

Gill finished the run with a feed to a cutting Doug Mueller down the middle of the defense with 2: 29 left in the first half.

Mount St. Joseph got as close as 7-3 early in the third quarter, but St. Paul's answered with six straight goals -- including two goals and two assists from Gill -- and were never threatened again.

The Gaels had an equal amount of possession time but the Crusaders' defense continually forced turnovers by stripping the ball away. Mount St. Joseph, which was outshot 30-17, also had troubles clearing the ball upfield against a hard-hitting St. Paul's squad.

The Crusaders only allowed 12 shots on goal.

"Our defense is very underrated," Crusaders senior defenseman Kimball Payne said. "We hustle and we take the ball away. We get the job done."

Some of the offensive problems hinge on St. Paul's inexperience. The Crusaders graduated 22 players from last season, including eight of 10 starters.

"We do have some youth and that may be part of it. I have to remind myself these are 14-, 15- and 16-year-olds out there. But that's my challenge: to keep them mentally prepared."

Gill agreed about the mental lapses.

"We forced a lot out there," Gill said. "We took a step backward out there today."

The Gaels, however, said this game was a step forward for them, and look to regroup against Mount Hebron today.

"Our kids came out and played hard," Mount St. Joseph coach Steve Szlasa said. "However happy you can be with a 10-goal loss, I am."

Pub Date: 4/05/97

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