Prior to the game St. Joe’s hockey coach Rich Crozier told his boys he wanted them to leave no doubt as to who the best team was.
They followed their coach’s instructions to perfection.
Senior captain Jack Lalley scored twice and earned MVP honors as the Marauders posted a 4-0 win over Canisius in the Catholic School championship game that kicked off the Super Monday triple header that was played at KeyBank Center on Monday.
“I think when we play them records go out the window,” said Crozier. “It’s just really important for us, I think, to stake our claim as being a championship team. And a dominant performance is what the doctor ordered.”
With the win the Marauders are the defending CHSAA champions, the Niagara Cup champs and earned them a return trip to states where they will face St. Anthony’s of Long Island next Sunday at the HarborCenter at 3pm.
“You want to be your best against Canisius every single time,” said Jack Lalley. “Especially in a championship game.”
Lalley put Joe’s up 2-0 with a couple of first period goals. The first was a laser from the blue line that beat Ryan O’Donnell glove side. The other was a wrister from inside the face off circle.
But the most damaging goal came off the stick of Luke Pierce who scored 28 seconds into the second period.
“Right at the beginning of the second period maybe they were in their locker room getting some energy,” said Lalley.
“Then we score and it drains it right out of them.”
Seth Glanowski added the final goal for St.Joe’s. Glanowski and Lalley were also the anchors of a Marauder defense that left little room for the Crusaders to create chances.
“A lot of people talk about our offensive game” said Crozier.
“But for (the) nine years (I’ve been head coach) the focus has been on defense. I think we are a very strong defensive team.”
The Crusaders, to their credit, never packed it in. They just couldn’t get enough quality chances and were unable to do something with the chances they did have.
“They cashed in on their chances and we didn’t,” said Canisius coach Sam Belsito.