Detroit Catholic Central wastes little time in taking the play to St. Mary’s, defeats the Eaglets 8-0
Plymouth – Detroit Catholic Central, the reigning Division 1 state champion, wasn’t in a mood to mess around in its regional final matchup against Orchard Lake St. Mary’s on Saturday.
The Shamrocks posted an 8-0 shutout, providing first-year coach Danny Veri with his inaugural regional title and the 19th regional championship in the history of the program.
“It’s ironic. When most teams play us, they bring their ‘A Game.’ This year, with this group, for whatever reason, every time we played St. Mary’s, we brought our best." Veri said.
"When you add the implications of this game, it amplifies it."
Catholic Central’s power-play unit took advantage of its opportunities in the first period.
Senior defenseman Andrew Lane picked up his 23rd assist of the season. He stood along the blue line and waited for a passing lane to open. After it did, he found Alex Kreutzer waiting at the end of that feed for a quick a 1-0 lead with 8:26 left in the period.
The Shamrocks (21-5-1) padded their lead later in the opening period with another power -play goal with 1:51 left until the first intermission. Junior Joseph (JoJo) Mancinelli cradled a rebound off a shot from Ryan Burnett, putting the puck into the net through traffic to up the margin to 2-0.
“We practice our power play every day for at least 20 minutes a practice. When you practice it that much," Kreutzer said. "it becomes second nature and you know where you’re teammates will be at all times,”
Mancinelli and Kreutzer helped increase Catholic Central’s lead as the Shamrocks erupted for three goals in the second period.
Mancinelli scored unassisted at 7:03 as he slid the puck underneath St. Mary’s goaltender Brendan Earls’ pads.
Kreutzer scored while both teams were playing four-on-four due to an exchange of penalties. He controlled a rebound off the glass and rifled the puck into the net with 5:02 left in the period.
“We needed to press on the gas early and set the tone,” said Kreutzer, a junior. “It was my first career multi-goal game. It’s pretty cool.”
After an Andrew Lane goal pushed the lead to 5-0 late in the second period, the Shamrocks wanted to secure the mercy in the third period. They didn’t mess around making that happen, either.
Junior defensemen Luc Krasicky scored his first goal of the season just 49 seconds into the final period. Fellow junior Brian Kearns finished off a one-timer from Dillion Jones with 12:46 to play and senior Ryan Burnett, who had a pair of assists, scored the final goal as he buried the puck stick with 8:32 left.
Catholic Central advances to Wednesday’s quarterfinals against the winner of the Lake Orion-Troy game.
Kreutzer said he and his teammates should be prepared to defend their Division 1 title.
“We have a sense of passion and pride in our program. We want to keep this season going,’ he said, "and winning a regional championship is a part of that. We’re honoring past teams that played before us when we’re one the ice, and we don’t want to let them down.
“We don’t want to let each other down, either.”