Mt. St. Joe answers wake-up call

Reich's check gets Gaels going against Spalding


High Schools

January 07, 2003|By Mike Frainie | Mike Frainie,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Sometimes, a jolt of reality can be the start of something big, like it was yesterday in Mount St. Joseph's 6-1 win over Archbishop Spalding at the Garden's Ice House in Laurel.

The jolt was delivered by forward Nick Reich, whose perfectly placed hip check sent a Spalding player tumbling and seemed to wake up the Gaels in a game that was much closer than the score indicated.

"We didn't come out with our heads on straight," said Mount St. Joseph's Matt Nedzel. "We're a team that once we start rolling, we really start rolling. I think that hip check got us rolling."

With the teams tied at 1-1 with 5:53 left in the second period, Reich threw the check in front of the Gaels' bench, sending the Spalding player into a 360-degree flip. The hit seemed to energize Reich's teammates and the crowd.

Just 23 seconds later, Nedzel scored the go-ahead goal. The Gaels (8-1-1, 4-0) never looked back, outscoring Spalding 4-0 the rest of the way.

"We're not playing three solid periods at all," said Mount St. Joseph forward Anthony DiNoto. "Our coaches told us that we weren't hitting the whole game, but we picked up our intensity in the later part of the game and I think it showed."

The Cavaliers (4-5, 1-2) dominated the early part of the game, forcing Gaels goalie Jerry Chernock to make several difficult saves. Spalding scored the only goal of the first period with 2:17 left, when freshman defenseman Adam Barragan took a feed from behind the net from Ryan Craig, and beat Chernock over his blocker pad for a 1-0 lead.

Spalding almost doubled the lead with 1:17 left in the period, when defenseman Braden Eggerl unleashed a bullet in the slot that Chernock barely caught with his glove.

The Gaels tied the game with 8:55 left in the second period. Forward Ricky Haiber took advantage of a partial breakaway, and fired from 10 feet inside the blue line. His shot beat Spalding goalie Darren DeLullo over his right shoulder.

After Reich's check, Nedzel took advantage of a rare mistake by DeLullo. After a shot from the point by Patrick Noonan, Nedzel poked the rebound past the sprawling goalie for a 2-1 lead.

The Gaels continued to exert pressure in the early part of the third period. The tactic finally paid off when Nedzel hit Reich with a perfectly placed pass near center ice. Reich made the most of the ensuing breakaway, beating DeLullo with a backhander to run the lead to 3-1.

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