SOUTH BEND, In - The Wildcats dominate talented opponents to win the Hoosier cup, riding momentum in the quest for the eighth state championship in program history.
Going into the weekend, the Ice Cats were expecting challenging games against some of the best teams in the Midwest. Their first matchup was against Osseo Maple Grove (MN) and the Cats safely took care of business, coming away with a 6-1 win with dominating play in the net from Nolan Francis.
In this first game, two Wildcats started their hot streaks for the weekend, Dario Piazza and freshman Cal Basile. Piazza had two goals and Basile had one, with the rest coming from Zach Baker (2x) and Jack Geffert. The Cats would be back in action the following day against Lake Central (IN).
The Cats were treated to a tour around the beautiful Notre Dame Campus and Sunday morning Mass before the contest. Headed into the game, the Cats quickly fell behind 3-1, but in a fashion, we have seen all season long, the Cats thrived coming back and scored seven unanswered goals to win the game 8-3. Again Piazza and Basile were on fire by combining for four goals, with Piazza netting the first hat trick of the season for himself and the team.
It was a genuine team effort as the remaining four goals were scored by four different Cats (Bia Savarino, Johnny Rodgers, Zach Baker and Christian Nash). The Cats had advanced to the semi-finals to take on the Culver Academy Eagles (IN), who they had previously defeated 4-1 earlier in the season.
Similar to their first matchup, only a team had much of an advantage once Dario Piazza got the Cats on the board yet again, and from there, the Cats shut the game down and got another goal, thanks to Neal Bartone. Ultimately, the Cats punched their ticket to the championship game against Edina (MN) with a 2-1 victory against Culver. Nolan Francis had another fantastic match coming away with 29 saves.
This game was all Cats as they rolled their way to a 3-0 shutout victory to win the Hoosier Cup championship. Goals again came from Piazza (2x) and Basile. The Cats coaching staff was thrilled to see the production from Piazza, but especially from Basile, as he has progressed greatly in his freshman season.
It was a phenomenal weekend for the Cats as they won their first tournament of the season and built an excellent foundation for themselves heading into the playoffs. The Cats start the quest for eight this Saturday against the Westlake Demons at noon at John M. Coyne Recreation Center for the Sectional Final. Be sure to check out, as the SIBN will have coverage of the game. Head Hockey Coach Pat O'Rourke will seek to win number 500 on Saturday.