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CCHL Game Articles

St. Rita exacts revenge on Marmion

By Gary Larsen 01/17/2023, 1:30pm CST

In the first CCHL start of his varsity career, St. Rita freshman goaltender Dom Adduci had the full support of his teammates.

“We love Dom. He always keeps the boys smiling and laughing,” St. Rita forward Luke Maher said. “It was good to see him get his first (CCHL) start and his first win. We paid the price all night, between greasy goals, blocking shots — it was a great team win and it felt good to get one for Dom.”

St. Rita’s 3-1 win against Marmion on Monday saw goals from Maher, Nolan O’Malley, and Jack Sprecht, while Marmion got its lone goal from Michael Greco.

A bit of recent history also played a role in Monday’s game at Fox Valley Ice Arena in Geneva.

In Marmion’s 1-0 win over St. Rita on Jan. 7, Marmion earned a 41-21 edge in shots and got the game’s lone goal from Sammy Lombardo with only 1:36 left to play, on an assist from Mario Solarte.

St. Rita got rid of the sour taste from that loss in Monday’s rematch. And the difference between their two recent meetings for St. Rita was simple.

“In the last game we were a little sloppy, on the weak side in the offensive zone, and they countered with us a bunch,” St. Rita coach Brian Coleman said. “Today we cleaned that up and had sustained pressure in their zone for longer stretches.”

With the win, St. Rita (8-9-2 in CCHL play) took a 2-1 edge in wins against Marmion (7-9-1) for the season. St. Rita also won 5-1 over Marmion on Oct. 27.

The reasons for St. Rita’s long stretches of offensive pressure Monday were two-fold.

“Our forecheck was great,” Maher said. “(Coleman) always preaches about keeping the third guy high all night and I thought we did a great job of that. And then we buried our opportunities. When we played them last week there were a lot of rebounds just sitting there, and we finally got to the net tonight and buried them home.”

St. Rita grabbed a 1-0 lead with 5:18 left to play in the first period, when Danny Byrne chipped a puck from the near to the weak side, where Sprecht finished on it. The Mustangs applied quality pressure throughout the period but gave up a tying goal with only 26 seconds left when Greco buried a shot from the slot.

The tie game held until the 4:45 mark of the second period. Maher netted his eighth CCHL goal the old-fashioned way for a team looking for ways to put more goals on the board.

“Going to the front of the net, banging in rebounds,” Coleman said. “We got two tonight and that’s what we want to do, to add a layer to our game and hopefully that opens up a little more skill for us. When you get two or three of those in a night, things start to open up and that allows you to get a few of those pretty ones.”

Marmion goalie Charlie Donoghue shined all night, particularly in the third period to keep his Cadets within one goal of tying the game against a St. Rita team that found plenty of quality looks on net.

For the game, St. Rita posted a 48-18 edge in shots and Donoghue rose to the challenge.

“(Donoghue) played unbelievable,” Maher said. “We should have had a couple more and he kept them in it. So all the credit to him.”

Maher got no argument from Marmion coach Christian Esposito.

“Charlie Donoghue is absolutely outstanding,” Esposito said. “He’s the backbone of our team and he has been all year. We can’t ask for more from Charlie. And Mario Solarte has really taken his game to another level and he’s coming into his own. I’m really happy with his play lately.

“It was a hard-fought battle.. We didn’t execute our defensive system as well as we have, and certainly not as well as we did in our last game we played against them. Ultimately, I think that’s what it came down to.”

St. RIta’s third goal didn’t come until Esposito pulled Donoghue in the game’s waning minutes and O’Malley buried an empty-netter for St. Rita with 35 seconds left to play.

Adduci made all the stops he needed to make for St. Rita, anchoring a defensive effort vastly improved from the two teams’ previous meeting.

“I loved our defense tonight. Our defensemen really locked it down and controlled the middle of the ice,” Coleman said. “(Solarte) is such a dynamic player for them and we did a good job, every time he got the puck, of not giving him much room and space to really threaten.”

Mustangs defensemen Joey Rodriguez, Ryan Mancine, Joey Bedtke, and TJ Swan all stood out in the win, and Maher added a couple names to the list of St. Rita players who shined.

“Obviously (Adduci), all night, and Nino Gentile played solid,” Maher said. “Brendan Harkins and Nolan O’Malley grind all game long and it’s always nice to see them rewarded. Even it’s the empty-netter.

“We’ve been working as a team to get more consistency. We’ve shown stints of it and in the last week and a half we’ve really played some of our best hockey all year. Now we’re just looking to keep it gong into the post-season; play inside the blue lines, win the greasy areas, and we’re starting to establish ourselves as a hard-working, strong- forechecking team.”

St. Rita next hosts Notre Dame in CCHL play on Thursday while Marmion is on the road Thursday for a game at Brother Rice.

Donoghue and the Cadets will put Monday’s loss in their rearview mirror and keep grinding.

“We were playing hard and a few bounces didn’t go our way tonight, but you have to make up for that,” Donoghue said.

“We’re a very young team but we’re close, We’re all brothers out there. It’s not just a one-man show and we play well together. That’s what it’s about. I think we’re on the rise and we just need to keep getting more shots, and finish off these last few games strong.”

With the postseason looming, Esposito likes the distance this year’s Cadets have traveled.

“We’ve seen a lot of growth in our team as a whole this season in our structure, our systems, and the buy-in has really been great,” Esposito said. “I’ve really enjoyed seeing how the boys have come together throughout this season, which is what you want at this level.

“You’re looking to get hot here at the end of the season so after a game when you play okay but really needed to give it your best, you have to turn the next page and find a way to use it as a steppingstone to get back to the top of your level. Because at a busy end of the year you have to make sure you’re at your best.”

2022-23 CCHL All-Star Team

Name Position Grade School
Griffin Delfosse Forward Junior Notre Dame Dons
Owen Fask Forward Sophomore Fenwick Friars
Nico Felice Forward Junior Providence Catholic Celtics
Vinny Felice Forward Senior Providence Catholic Celtics
Aj Iwinski Forward Senior Marmion Cadets
Jack Keaty Forward Senior Brother Rice Crusaders
Corbin Klein Forward Senior St. Ignatius Wolfpack
Luke Maher Forward Senior St. Rita Mustangs
Sean Pondelicek Forward Senior Fenwick Friars
Cole Rosenthal Forward Senior Benet Redwings
Jack Rhyner Forward Senior St. Ignatius Wolfpack
Hudson Schlie Forward Sophomore Benet Redwings
Victor Ventura Forward Senior St. Ignatius Wolfpack
       
Conor Haggerty Defense Senior Brother Rice Crusaders
Zandis Hoover Defense Senior Benet Redwings
Ryan Mancine Defense Senior St. Rita Mustangs
Nolan O'Malley Defense Junior St. Rita Mustangs
Jack Perreault Defense Senior St. Ignatius Wolfpack
Tom Kala Defense Senior Fenwick Friars
       
Matthew Difilippo Goalie Senior Mount Carmel Caravan
William Janus Goalie Senior Benet Redwings
Andrew Pavich Goalie Senior Providence Catholic Celtics

 

2022-2023 CCHL Skills Competition Selections

Name

Position

Grade

School

Carson Burris

Forward

Junior

Providence Catholic Celtics

Cam Corvo

Forward

Senior

Fenwick Friars

Michael Johnson

Forward

Senior

Notre Dame Dons

Cameron Kosmala

Defense

Junior

St. Ignatius Wolfpack

Caleb  Lind

Forward

Senior

Marmion Cadets

Carrick Londos

Forward

Sophomore

Mount Carmel Caravan

Charlie McClorey 

Forward

Senior

Brother Rice Crusaders

Anthony Pacheco

Forward

Senior

Benet Redwings

Joe Rodriguez

Defense

Junior

St. Rita Mustangs

       

Charlie Donoghue

Goalie

Junior

Marmion Cadets

 

Fenwick's 3rd period stamps win over Notre Dame

By Gary Larsen 12/12/2022, 11:00am CST

A Carter Fask hat-trick may have been the box-score exclamation point on Fenwick’s win over Notre Dame, but it was the first 1:51 of the third period that stood as arguably Sunday’s most pivotal stretch of play.

Leading 2-0 after two periods, Fenwick (7-7-0 in CCHL play) faced 1:51 of a penalty kill to start the third, against a Notre Dame (3-14-0) team that Friars coach Nick Fabbrini knew came ready to play.

A power-play goal from Notre Dame in that situation might well have changed the game’s momentum. Instead, Fenwick killed the penalty and then found three more goals en route to a 5-1 win at The Edge ice arena in Bensenville.

“Even though they weren’t getting too many chances, it was only 2-0 so it was important that we come out and kill the penalty,” Fabbrini said. “We had 1:50 to kill so we talked about making sure we didn’t give them any hope, and after that just play smart.

“(Notre Dame) played really well and I think our depth was a big factor. Their top line can play with anybody but for us, one of our strengths is the depth we have.”

Notre Dame came out more than up to the challenge in the CCHL game, finding dangerous space in the offensive zone and sending seven shots on net to Fenwick’s eight in the first period. Notre Dame’s Griffin Delfoose, Owen Weber, Zachary Zigmond, and Kyle Keane all put first-period shots on Fenwick Cole Alessi, but Alessi kept them out.

Fenwick went into Sunday’s game having already beaten Notre Dame by scores of 4-0 and 5-1 this season. The Friars showed flashes of dominant play in the first period but it wasn’t until Dominic Fosco scored with 3:15 remaining in the period that Fenwick grabbed a 1-0 lead.

It remained a 1-goal game for most of the second period, before Fask scored his first goal of the game at the 6:42 mark to make it 2-0.  Fenwick posted a 6-2 edge in shots in the second period.

But leading 2-0 at intermission, Fenwick’s players were anything but happy.

“We were not satisfied with our first two periods,” Fenwick defenseman Joe Krzak said. “We wanted to get out there, get a couple more goals, and keep working. I was happy with the way we went out there in the third period. We were moving the puck around, getting hits, and getting into great (scoring) spots.”

Fask also liked the way his side elevated its play after the intermission.

“We got into the locker room and we weren’t yelling at each other but just took a deep breath, went back out there, and played as hard as we could,” Fask said. “And it’s not always about scoring the big goal. It’s the little things like a hard back-check, getting out, and little things that can separate you from good teams.”

After weathering Notre Dame’s power play to start the third period, Fenwick took a 3-1 lead on an unassisted Sean Pondelicek goal at the 9:45 mark. Notre Dame scored on the power play with 4:12 left in the game to make it 3-1 on a Charles Duffy goal, with Delfoose and Johnson assisting on the goal.

Fask returned Fenwick to a three-goal cushion a minute later with his second goal of the game, with Fosco and Thomas Kala assisting. Fask finished the day’s scoring with 10 seconds left in the game to complete his hat-trick and score his fourth CCHL goal of the year.

“He’s one of the fastest guys on the ice every time we play,” Fabbrini said of Fask. “Skating, passing, and shooting, he’s as good as anyone in the league. The challenge is putting it all together and he did that tonight. He’s also on the varsity swim team so he’s got a lot going on so it was nice to see him get back to doing the things that make him successful.”

Fask was happy to contribute, but happier about the character his team showed on Sunday, coming on the heels of Friday’s 3-2 loss to Providence on a goal scored in the game’s waning moments.

“It was a nice to see the way we rebounded after that game,” Fask said. “Providence is a good team but that was a heartbreaker to lose in the last fifteen seconds.”

After posting seven shots in the first period, Notre Dame only managed six shots on net the rest of the way as Fenwick finished with a 20-13 edge in shots.

Fabbrini also liked the day’s work put forth by Thomas Fleming, Michael Verni, and Owen Fask.

“When they were out there they were making things happen,” Fabbrini said. “I thought our ‘D’ played a pretty good game for the most part, we did a good job moving the puck, and it was just a pretty good team effort tonight.

“The power play looked good and I liked how we stuck with the process. It’s about understanding that if it’s not enough after 17 or even 34 minutes, that if you stick to the process for 51 minutes good things will happen.”

Fenwick has gone 5-5 in its last 10 CCHL games, and every single loss has been by a single goal for a team ranked 18th in Illinois by My Hockey Rankings. 

“We started off a little inconsistent but now I feel like we’ve been picking it up, everyone is chipping in and giving their best effort,” Krzak said. “I love that and I can’t wait to see the next couple games.”

Fask agreed.

“We’re definitely getting better,” Fask said. “We started a little slow. As we move on the games get more crucial and putting the puck in the back of the net will be even more important.”

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Fenwick's PK keys 3-2 win over Marmion

By Gary Larsen
OAK PARK -- Teams around the Chicago Catholic Hockey League would be wise to beware of Fenwick’s penalty kill.

Twice in Friday’s 3-2 win over visiting Marmion, the shorthanded Friars came up big, thanks first to Cam Corvo and then to Anthony Balesteri.

All Corvo did was get Fenwick out from behind the 8-ball early in the second period. After Marmion’s Trey Howicz gave his side a 1-0 lead on a power-play goal to start the period, the Cadets quickly went on another power play and a 2-0 lead would have put momentum squarely on Marmion’s side.

Instead, Corvo intercepted a pass and swept in alone on net to score a shorthanded goal, tying the score at 1-1 little more than a minute after Howicz’s goal.

“Between Corvo and (Will) Steadman, they absolutely skate their behinds off on the PK,” Fenwick coach Nick Chiappetta said. “It’s almost like they prefer that for scoring opportunities.”

A wild and fairly evenly-played game played out in Oak Park on Friday. A penalty-plagued first two periods saw the score tied 2-2 before a cleaner third period saw Corvo score his second goal of the night for the game-winner, mid-way through the third on a feed from Steadman.

Even with the 18 combined penalties whistled in the game, Friday’s Friars-Cadets game was a doozy.

“I thought it was a really good game, overall,” Marmion coach Christian Esposito said. “It was a back-and-forth battle, a lot of intensity and good energy on both sides, and both goalies were standing on their heads, especially in the first period.”

A scoreless first period saw Fenwick senior goalie Santino Ori and Marmion sophomore goalie Charlie Donoghue weather three power plays apiece to keep their slates clean.

Howicz broke the drought at the 15:30 mark of the second period on a power-play goal, on assists from Sonny Lombardo and Michael Greco. Corvo’s unassisted goal came at 14:22 in the face of Marmion’s second power play of young period.

Junior Corvo and senior Steadman both decided to play for Fenwick this year and the Friars are enjoying clear dividends on the scoresheet thus far.

Steadman put Fenwick up 2-1 on a Demitri Karabatsos assist mid-way through the second period, but Marmion’s Nolan School tied the game with roughly four minutes remaining on a feed from Graham Robertson.

The spotlight hit Balesteri at the outset of the third period. With Marmion on the power play, he was headed in alone on net before being taken down from behind.

Marmion’s one-man advantage was thus erased to 4-on-4 play, courtesy of Balesteri’s heads-up play.

“Anthony Balesteri comes out, blocks a shot, goes in on a breakaway and a kid drops him and we’re back to even strength,” Chiappetta said. “That was a big moment from him.”

The junior Balesteri is part of a young varsity core that Fenwick senior captain Sam Chioda appreciates.

“I love it. Young guys going out there, working hard, getting a win and getting used to varsity,” Chioda said. “We have a good core of seniors and the young guys are following behind them. It’s just positive energy on the bench, getting the puck and getting their heads up and making plays. But I think they’re doing well.”

Marmion has a similarly young team.

“We’re really young, with only a few seniors,” Marmion captain Blake Powers said. “We have a lot of juniors and sophomores, and we even have five freshmen on the roster. I’m just excited to see how the team progresses as the year goes on.”

“Tonight we just struggled to play as a team. It was too much individual play. We played together in our game against Providence (a 2-0 win on Sept. 26) and that’s how we have to play to win. So I think today was just a fluke."

Both Ori and Donoghue were solid throughout and each had moments of brilliance. Ori stood particularly tall during a second period in which Fenwick committed seven penalties.

“We were outshot just about every game last year, yet we earned a spot in the playoffs and that starts with the success we've found in net,” Chiappetta said. “(Ori) is one of the elite goaltenders in the Catholic League. He put in a ton of work this off-season, his game has elevated tremendously, and we’re looking forward to seeing what he can accomplish this year.”

Esposito is also pleased with what he’s seeing from Donoghue.

“Charlie Donoghue is having a heck of a year for us so far and he’s only a sophomore,” Esposito said. “I’m excited to see him continue to grow and take this opportunity by the horns the way he has so far this season.”

Esposito has gotten solid leadership from Powers and Graham Robertson, "and Chase Breslin has brought a really good element to our team,” he said.

The Marmion skipper also had praise for an unsung Cadet.

“One of our wingers, Joey Nowicki,” Esposito said. “He gives it a hundred and ten percent, every single night. Both of the goals we scored tonight were because of plays that he started based on a forecheck and takeaway, and an opportunity for another guy. He doesn’t end up on the scoresheet every single night but he’s a difference maker for us right now.”

Chiappetta took note of a key shot-block late in the game by Fenwick’s Eddie McFadden, one of two McFadden plays that helped preserve the win late in the game.

Chiappetta liked the presence his boys brought to the ice as well.

“Physicality,” Chiappetta said. “We weren’t afraid to take hits. Now we’ve just got to do it a little bit cleaner. And peppering the net — we got outshot almost every game last year so it was nice to see that finally tilting our way.”

After last year’s COVID-plagued season, the return of fans in the stands at Fenwick’s home ice of Ridgeland Commons in Oak Park was also a welcome return to normalcy.

“The kids were all jacked up tonight. It’s been two years since we’ve had people here so it was nice to see fans for the first time in a while,” Chiappetta said.