February 27, 2003
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Sluggish BC needs OT to reach Cup final

Thursday, February 27, 2003

By Jim McConville
NJS.com Staff Writer

HACKENSACK - All the ingredients were there for an upset. Bergen Catholic had not played in two weeks as a team, yet a number of its players had seen considerable action with their club teams, leaving the Crusaders a bit tired in the legs.

The layoff, plus the out-of-high-school schedule, showed as the Crusaders had trouble regaining the chemistry in their passing and their defense. Combine that with a solid effort by Christian Brothers Academy, and Bergen was ripe for the taking.

Somehow, BC managed to find a way, something that championship-caliber teams do when the chips are down. After surrendering a two-goal lead in the late stages of the second period and being outplayed in the third and the majority of the overtime, they still found a way to win.

John Goffredo's blistering shot from just inside the blue line at 9:16 of the extra session gave Bergen Catholic a 4-3 win over CBA in the Gordon Cup semifinals, sending the Crusaders into the championship game on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at South mountain Arena in South Orange. They will face Seton Hall Prep, a winner over St. John-Vianney in their semifinal game, in what is essentially a home game for the Pony Pirates.

Goffredo's 23rd goal of the season was a bullet that seemed to catch Colts goalie Ryan DeGuester off guard. The play began innocently with Jason May clearing the puck up to Ben O'Donnell, with his clearing pass finding Goffredo surging through center ice.

"I just came up with the puck on the right wing side, and it's overtime, so whatever happens happens," Goffredo remarked. "I used the defenseman as a screen through the middle and just shot the puck on net and it went in."

The goal enabled Bergen Catholic (15-1-2) to escape with a win on its home ice despite playing what head coach Dan May called, "a sluggish game, especially in our own end of the rink. In the games leading up to this one, we kind of rolled over teams, and that wasn't reality.

"After a horrendous second period, we talked in the locker room and the kids were kind of down at 3-3, and I told them you're not going to win games 7-1 at this point. That's not reality. This is reality, this is the way it's going to be from here on out."

The Crusaders had a chance for a lead goal in the third period, but O'Donnell rang the post with a shot. CBA's best chance to grab the lead came midway into the period when Adam Houli ripped a shot that BC goalie Stephen Ritter managed to make a save on between the pads.

CBA continued to own the better of the play in the Crusader offensive zone throughout the third period and the overtime, but could not capitalize before Goffredo ended it.

The Colts grabbed a 1-0 lead 7:20 into the first period when Vin Sarnatora scored off assists from Chris Holmes and Charlie Tacapino, but Bergen came right back to tie it 15 seconds later, with May scoring and O'Donnell and Casey Giblin getting the assists.

Bergen Catholic scored twice in a 34-second span in the second period as Tom Keough netted one at 3:02 off assists from Giblin and Matt Rutch, and John Garlasco scored from Brian Scholtz and Anthony Randazzo.

The tide of the game shifted seven minutes later when CBA (15-4-3) got within one on a power play goal by Vincent DeAntonio with Peter Lindner and Tom Chiapetta picking up assists. CBA tied the game with 43 seconds left in the second period as Holmes fed Lindner for the score.

Bergen outshot CBA by a 35-33 margin, with Ritter making 30 saves. May said that, "I watched him (Ritter) in warmups, and I was thinking he looks pretty nervous, but for a sophomore, I thought he made some really solid saves and the goals they scored on him, I really couldn't blame him."

Looking ahead to the Gordon final, May remarked that, "as it always is, the top four teams (in the conference) are pretty even, and you have to get the bounces to win."

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