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The Bounce Back and the Road to the Next Step

By Andrew Gus '22, 12/06/21, 4:15PM EST


After falling 4-0 to New Trier on Saturday, the Ice Cats bounce back with a 3-0 victory on Sunday.

STRONGSVILLE, Oh - The New Trier (IL) Trevians made the journey down to Northeast, Ohio, to battle the Wildcat hockey squad. The rubber biscuit hit the ice at 7 p.m. on Saturday. The visitors dressed in green and navy came out flying, pressuring the Wildcats in all aspects of the game. Every pass was perfect on the tape and every breakout was on point.

As the buzzer rang, signaling the end of the first fifteen minutes of action, the Cats trailed the Trevs 2-0. "We need to stay cool, focus on the little things and play our own game and be more physical," says Captain Kevin Mays during the first intermission. The Cats needed to start playing the body and separating the opponent from the puck. They did just that, keeping up with New Trier in the second period.

It was a scoreless period and equal going into the last period, but Saint Ignatius knew they needed to find the back of the net to have a chance. New Trier had only one icing through 30 minutes going into the third period, a pretty impressive stat. Still, the Wildcats' pressuring offense made it more difficult for the Trevians to break out. In return, the Cats got more shots on the net, but the Trevian goaltender, Dean Lawrence, held his ground and shut the Wildcats out.

On a few defensive breakdowns, two breakaway goals were buried by the New Trier Trevians and finishing the match at 4-0 defeat for the Wildcats.

Luckily for Saint Ignatius, they were given another chance at this New Trier opponent. The following day, both teams squared up again, this time at OBM Arena in Strongsville. But this game went in a completely different direction than the previous night. After the first period, the Wildcats had come out very strong, blocking shots, making hits, getting shots and finishing every play.

The Cats found the back of the net twice, once by Neal Bartone, assisted by Bia Savarino and the other from Savarino, who Brandon Getz assisted. The ice was tilted in the direction of the Blue and Gold and they went into the locker room up by two goals to the same Trevians team that shut them out the night before. "Keep your heads in the right place; the minute we get too high on our horses is the minute we will blow this game," says Mays to the team at intermission.

He was right on the money, but New Trier kept up this time around and kept the second period scoreless, but the Cats were still up by two in the game. For the final 15 minutes of the two-game set, the Trevians came out hitting and trying to tie the game up, but both teams fell into penalty trouble.

With a few minutes remaining in the game, Dario Piazza was able to stuff another Wildcat goal in; he received the pass from Getz, who got a pass from his linemate, Zawadzki. The Cats were up three with 8 minutes to play, not needing any more goals. All they needed was to keep helping out their goalie, Jack Utrup. At one point, it was a four-on-three battle, but the Wildcats were able to keep up the intense pressure and physicality.

New Trier held their own as well, but time ran out for them, and the Wildcats sent them home for a long bus trip after a 3-0 loss.

"It shows a lot of heart battling against tough opponents," explains Mays.  Knowing we can come out victorious after a difficult previous game." Mays finished off by sharing these thoughts and realizing all the potential this 2021-2022 team has to show. They ended up defeating the New Trier Trevians, Illinois' defending State Champions, by a final of 3-0 and finishing with 72 hits and a 19 save shutout for Jack Utrup.

Coming off of a huge win, the Cats will seek the same from the upcoming weekend, facing University School on Friday at 5:50 p.m. at OBM Arena. As well as the St. Edward Eagles on Saturday, December 11th, at John M. Coyne Recreation Center at 4:45 p.m.