Boys hockey team beats St. Mary to claim second city crown in three years
Bishop Ryan Catholic Secondary School’s boys hockey team is heading to the Golden Horseshoe Athletic Conference AAA/AAAA championship next week.
The team beat St. Mary 3-2 in the city final Feb. 25 at Mountain Arena to clinch its second crown in three years.
“Early in the year, I didn’t think we had a team that was going to be anywhere near contending, but as the year went on we picked up players here or there along the way and people were able to commit and we kept winning,” said head coach Mike Kolic, adding Bishop Ryan finished with a 12-1-1 record. “Coming into the playoffs, the kids were finally thinking, ‘We’re the team to beat now, we’ve only lost one game all year, we are the team to beat,’ so that kind of changed as the year went on.”
St. Mary opened the scoring with an early goal in the first period.
Bishop Ryan responded with two goals in the second to take a 2-1 lead heading into the third period.
Bishop Ryan then added another goal about four minutes into the third, before St. Mary cut the lead to one with about a minute left in the game.
“St. Mary’s second goal made it really interesting,” Kolic said. “Then they had a wide open net with about 10 seconds to play and our goalie just made the most miraculous save to save the victory.”
Kolic said both teams were evenly matched.
“We were pretty well disciplined. I think we’re a little deeper than they are,” he said. “They seemed to double shift two of their lines and we were able to roll three lines, so I think they kind of tired as the game went on and we kept it kind of steady. We were able to play our players and outlast in that way.”
Bishop Ryan defeated Bishop Tonnos 4-2 in the semifinals last Thursday at Rosedale Arena to earn its place in the championship.
The team finished the regular season in first place with a 10-1-1 record.
“To my knowledge, there hasn’t been a Bishop Ryan team that’s won 10 games in a 12-game season, so when you take a look at that, this could be one of the best teams we’ve ever had or certainly in my recollection,” Kolic said. “I think the players are outstanding and they’re so evenly balanced. I can tell you our goaltending is sensational, I can tell you our defence is solid, I can tell you we got snipers who can score – any of the nine forwards can score – so it’s so well balanced, it’s really a complete team.”
Bishop Ryan will battle Halton’s champion for the GHAC AAA/AAAA title on Tuesday in Halton.
Kolic said the team’s game plan will be the same no matter who the opponent turns out to be.
“I think we still have to play the way we play,” he said. “You can’t worry about the opponent, you simply have to do what you do and you have to perfect it, so the goal going into the game is to play a mistake-free game. That might be hard to do, but the next best thing is to minimize your mistakes, so our kids have to show up and they have to be hungry to advance, hungry to win and they have to play mistake-free hockey.”