“Look around here, there’s no enemies, just a good old-fashioned rivalry,” is how the famous adage goes.
The Saint Ignatius varsity prep hockey team faced fierce rival St. Edward Saturday night and the contest was one that won’t soon be forgotten. The game was a defensive matchup, conjuring up memories of the 1-0 contest the teams played in the 2015-16 season, highlighted by a “wrap-around” goal by Connor Koehnke and a stellar effort from Dylan McKeon in net.
The Wildcats played a physical matchup versus the Eagles, but that was to be expected. The Wildcats had constant pressure on Andrew Stewart and the Eagle defensive effort. The Wildcats cleared a penalty, which featured a McKeon-esque save by Savarino, who over the past year and a half has slowly written his story as one of the top goalies to walk the halls at W. 30th and Lorain.
The Wildcats, coming into the contest just 14% on converting power plays, struck first on a power play. Just four seconds into a late first period powerplay, captain Bain Kurtz followed suit of what Koehnke had done in the past and swept a wraparound goal past the Eagles' netminder. The Wildcats led by one after the first two periods of action, which would please the most defensive-minded fans.
The Boys of Winter just couldn’t find the back of the net against Stewart despite controlling the puck and play drastically. Alex Bilardo and Mike McCaffrey both came inches away from multiplying the lead.
Just as it began to seem as if the Wildcats would identically repeat the 2015 matchup, junior Eagle defenseman Tyler Budzar turned the puck over to McCaffrey, who passed it to fellow captain Bain Kurtz. Kurtz scored his second goal of the night, netting one by Stewart, and the remaining minutes played out quietly. The Wildcats won the high-intensity matchup by the score of 2-0, with excellent efforts from Kurtz, Michael Boehm and Mike McCaffrey, as well as young defensemen Clay Gazdak and Charlie Erbs.
Benny Savarino, who has allowed on average only two goals per game against the Eagles, moved to 4-0-0 against St. Edward.
The Wildcats improved to 5-2-0, and will play two contestes in Grand Rapids, Michigan this upcoming Saturday and Sunday. The SIBN crew of Jack O’Rourke, Pat Keane, and Max Marazzi will cover it at: www.ignatiuswildcats.com/SIBN-live