The Saint Ignatius Wildcats’ hockey team is motivated. Despite recent success, past year’s success doesn’t guarantee anything. This senior-laden team wants nothing more than a state championship. It is understood that despite a string of consecutive state championships, the stars of past state titles can’t score goals or make saves to lead the Wildcats to Nationwide Arena.
The Ice Cats’ goal to continue to better themselves for the state tournament ran through Burlington, Ontario, Canada this weekend. The gauntlet weekend included 4 games in 26 hours for the Blue and Gold.
Saint Ignatius – 5; Le Sommet – 3
After a long bus ride, the Wildcats made a quick trip to the hotel and then to the rink to play the tough Le Sommet Falcons. Le Sommet had beaten the Wildcats the last two seasons entering Friday night.
Following a quick feeling-out process, Zak Kovatch made a key string of saves to open up the first period. After a hit from Greg Langermeier switched the momentum, Chuckie Wilson came down on a rush and beat the Falcon goaltender five-hole to open the scoring. The Wildcats led 1-0 after the first period following the junior’s goal.
The Falcons struck with a snipe and two deflection goals and the Wildcats found themselves down 3-1 to Le Sommet. Knowing Kovatch would regroup and hold the score at three for the Falcons, the Saint Ignatius offense went to work.
With a man-advantage late in the second period, a cross-ice pass found Greg Langermeier. The captain’s quick release on the slapshot cut the deficit in half.
The Wildcats entered the third period trailing 3-2. That number wouldn’t stand for long, as Christian Radke brought the Cats to a tie as the Wildcat bench erupted.
And Chuckie Wilson couldn’t be held off the board for long. Wilson fired a shot five-hole from the slot coming just minutes after Radke’s tying tally.
But the game was not yet over. The Wildcats were forced to kill off a penalty with under three minutes remaining. Zak Kovatch made four saves on the Wildcat penalty kill.
Alternate captain Alex Bilardo fired the puck into an empty net to seal the deal at 5-3 in favor of the Wildcats.
Saint Ignatius – 6; Blyth Academy – 2
Just five hours after they dropped the puck against Le Sommet, the Ice Cats were back in action against the host Blyth Bruins.
Aidan McLaughlin took the pipes as a strange game occured.
Matt Sullivan wasted little time in the opening contest, as he hit the back bar of the net for a 1-0 lead. Continuing his strong senior campaign, Rory Zawadzki scored on the same shift as Sullivan to make it 2-0.
Then things began to get crazy.
In the defensive zone, Aidan Conway collided with a Bruin, sending Conway through the glass. After a short waiting period, Coach O’Rourke asked if the Wildcats could finish the game on the other rink at the complex. The other rink was the home of the earlier contest.
After twenty minutes off the ice, the teams continued the first period.
Soon after the game resumed, Erik Galauner capitalized on a power play, sending the Wildcats to the locker room with a 3-0 lead over the hosts.
After a scoreless second period in which the Wildcats dominated time on attack, the teams switched ends for the third.
McLaughlin made a key glove save early in the third period to keep the Bruins off the board.
In a continuation of strange events, Rory Zawadzki scored again. While Zawadzki scoring is common, this was strange. Zawadzki had scored two goals in the same game, though this time, the two goals were scored on different rinks. After deliberation with Rory’s brother Owen, we have decided Rory is one of about five people who have ever done this.
The next Wildcat goal was the biggest of the weekend.
As both teams fought hard in the third period, the Cats controlled possession. A rebound landed right on the stick of junior Gordon Gray. Gray roofed the rebound, sending the rink into chaos. The hardworking junior scored his first goal of the season and was mobbed by his teammates. Gordon threw his hands in the air and “bopped” all the way to the bench.
Greg Langermeier scored his second goal on Friday when he beat the goalie high a snipe from the point.
The Bruins scored two late goals which would be tough to blame on consistent netminder Aidan McLaughlin.
Saint Ignatius – 6; Ottawa Valley – 1
After what we would call more of a nap than sleep, along with some Starbucks, the Wildcats were back on the ice roughly 10 hours after they last took the ice.
After back and forth play with Ottawa Valley early on, Zak Kovatch made a huge pad extension save to keep the game tied.
Towards the end of the first period, Danny Cook and Alex Bilardo both scored power-play goals. The Wildcats’ PP unit found great success all weekend long.
Zak Kovatch made a breakaway save to start the second, and Nathan Klinge made a great defensive stop to prevent another breakaway.
Erik Galauner picked his corner right at the conclusion of a Wildcat power play, lifting the Wildcats to a 3-0 lead. But the Wolves of Ottawa Valley wouldn’t go down quite yet, as they capitalized on a power play of their own.
Camden Kurtz scored two goals, however, and Christian Radke scored another to end the second period.
The 6-1 score would end up being the final after a scoreless third period.
Saint Ignatius – 6; Northern Pre-University – 1
Twelve scoreless minutes began the Saturday matinee against Pre-Northern University. Wildcat alternate captains Camden Kurtz and Alex Bilardo scored late first-period goals, and Dawson Mohr didn’t let any pass him.
Christian Radke scored his third of the weekend via the backhand. Aidan Millett quickly struck for two goals of his own. Despite a goal from the Rebels, the Ice Cats led 5-1 after two periods.
Cam Kurtz added his second of the game, and Dawson Mohr picked up the win in net. The boys boarded the bus and proudly headed back to the States after going 4-0 on the weekend.
Next up, the 19-0-1 Saint Ignatius Wildcats honor their 21 senior players, managers, and broadcasters on Saturday. The Ice Cats face the Pittsburgh Predators 18U AA team at 4:45 pm at Brooklyn. Festivities will take place before and after the game. The SIBN will be back on the call for the rest of the season. Seniors Jack O’Rourke, Patrick Keane, and Ethan Schum will have all the Wildcat hockey action.