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Crusaders 0-2 at OFSAA boys hockey; slim hope remains for playoff berth

March 21, 2013


Slow starts plagued the Holy Cross Crusaders Wednesday at the first day of the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations boys AAA/AAAA hockey tournament in Mississauga.

The Crusaders lost both of their games, 4-2 to fourth-seeded Holy Trinity of Bradford and 4-3 to Sacred Heart of Stittsville. Their prospect of reaching the playoff round is remote, in that they have to win their final preliminary game Thursday morning by at least five goals against No. 6 seed Brother Andre of Markham.

“It doesn’t look good,” Crusaders coach Tony Clarke said. “We’re going to scratch for a win. We don’t want to go home 0-3, but it won’t be easy. Brother Andre is 1-1 and they’re going to be looking to get that win against us to solidify their spot in the next round.”

If Holy Cross wins, and as expected undefeated Holy Trinity defeats Sacred Heart Wednesday morning, Trinity will finish the preliminary round 3-0 and the other three teams in the pool would all be 1-2. The relevant tie breaker would be goal differential and after two games Brother Andre is plus-2, Sacred Heart is minus-2 and Holy Cross is minus-3.

A Holy Cross win by five goals kicks Sacred Heart out of the tie and creates a two-way tie with Andre, which the Crusaders would win on the basis of having won the head-to-head match.

Even if that happens, however, it would quickly become moot if Holy Cross plays the way it did in the first periods of its two games Wednesday. Holy Trinity “got the jump on us” in the Crusaders’ opening game, Clarke said, and his team needed some sparkling goaltending from Quinn Cota to keep the game close.

Holy Cross trailed 3-1 going into the third period but Zach Masterson scored his second goal of the game midway through the third to lift the Crusaders to within a goal. Though they pressed and pulled Cota for a sixth skater with a minute to play the Crusaders could not gain the equalizer and Trinity put the game away with an empty-net goal.

“We were right there,” Clarke said. “We had our chances to tie it up.”

Tyson O’Toole assisted on both of the Holy Cross goals.

The Crusaders’ second game started just as poorly as Sacred Heart jumped to a 2-0 lead. The situation was so dire Clarke called a timeout with three minutes left in the first period in an attempt to rouse his players.

Apparently it worked. “We told the guys to keep it simple,” Clarke said. “Sure enough, they received the message well and started to turn it on. We played well after that.”

The first period ended with Sacred Heart leading 2-0. The teams traded goals in the second period and though Holy Cross scored twice in the third period it could never tie the score.

Sacred Heart scored a shorthanded goal that went into the net off a Crusader’s stick to make it 4-2. Josh Leblanc scored his third goal of the game 14 seconds later, before the power play ended, to cut the deficit in half but in the final seven and a half minutes the Crusaders failed to mount a successful bid for the tying goal.

“(Sacred Heart) responded,” Clarke said. “Our chances after that goal became a lot fewer. I think they really sensed that if they didn’t pick it up they could lose that game.”

Matt Marino and Kris Johnson drew two assists apiece in that game for Holy Cross, which gets the early wake-up call for an 8 a.m. game Wednesday.


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