It was the sweetest rendition of “When the Saints go Marching in” that the Marauders ever sang. And it came on the ice after one of their sweetest wins ever.
Jeremy Ienco scored twice and was named MVP as St. Joe’s beat St. Anthony’s, 5-2, to win the New York State Catholic High School Athletic Association championship in front of an estimated 800 fans at the HarborCenter, Sunday afternoon.
“I was singing my heart out,” Ienco said with a smile. “I’m not much of a singer, but it felt good.”
The second year in a row the Marauders have gotten the better of the Friars, it also marks the sixth time the Marauders have won states since Rich Crozier took over as head coach in 2008.
But the first time they did it in their hometown.
“It’s a great feeling. The guys have worked incredibly hard all season,” said Crozier. “We had challenges like any other team, but I think they showed a lot of resilience. I can’t say enough about how proud I am, especially of my seniors for those 14 kids to be able to go out on top is a great way to do it.”
For the players and coaches, being able to win it on home ice meant sharing their joy with the families, friends and classmates who have supported them since Day One.
“It’s amazing,” Ienco said. “We won in New York City last year. It was cool. A couple of the boys made the trip out, you saw the fans today. It’s unreal to win it in front of them. To be able to score three goals in the state championship (these) two years it’s unreal. There’s no feeling like it. Especially going out on top.”
Ienco, who scored the game-winner last season when Joe’s beat the Friars in overtime, opened the scoring six minutes into the game. Trevor Conschafter and Ethan Louisos picked up the assists.
Greg Barnych got the Friars on the board two minutes later when he scored a power play goal on the wrap around that he tucked just inside the post short side of Marauder goalie Donovan Boshier.
The Friars took their only lead of the game when John Folenza put them up 2-1 with 8:11 to go in the second.
But St. Joe’s answered in a big way less than a minute later as Mark Gilbert and Spencer Frome scored back-to-back goals 44 seconds apart that put the Marauders up to stay.
“It was absolutely crucial to get a goal then,” Mark Gilbert said. “I was trying to do everything I could for our team. We had to have a big shift after going down. Some guys on the team were down, but we had to pick it back up. I got a nice rebound and scored. Obviously Spencer scoring. Just two huge goals that we really needed.”
A fast paced, physical game both teams left it all on the ice. When it was said and done the depth of the Marauders, as it was all season, was key.
“We talked about it all season. We’re a four line team,” Crozier said. “For our and I’m gonna say it in quote (marks) ‘for our third and fourth lines’ to contribute like that, that’s quite a lift. We call that a little bit of a bonus. But I’m not surprised. All season long we’ve had 13 forwards, seven D, two goalies contributing to this I believe, 25 win season. Probably one of the best in the history of Joe’s. We say it had to be a team effort today and it was.”
Ienco put the game on ice when he scored during a four minute power play after St. Anthony’s John Riggins was called for checking from behind.
Luke Pierce finished off the scoring with an empty-netter.
“It’s absolutely unbelievable,” Gilbert said when asked about winning states at home.