By Andrew Donnelly ’20
For the last four years, the Chaminade Varsity Ice Hockey team has been chasing the elusive league championship that they successfully captured in 2015. After defeating Monsignor Farrell in a semi-finals overtime match thanks to junior Arthur Dulik’s last-minute goal, the Crimson and Gold finally got the chance to bring this dream to fruition. The hockey team took on their rivals, the St. Anthony’s Friars, in a best-of-three series for the 2019-2020 NYSCHSAA Ice Hockey Championship.
The Flyers entered the series as the number two seed, and were looking to take down the first-seeded Friars. Chaminade and St. Anthony’s matched up three times during the regular season, with the Flyers emerging victorious in just one of these season matchups. Overall, Chaminade had attained an impressive record of 10-5 with key wins against the 2018-2019 champions, the Fordham Prep Rams, in addition to the Monsignor Farrell Lions.
Led by captain Christian Romeo ‘20, assistant captains Drew Goodman ‘20 and Dylan Ray ‘20, in addition to star goalie Harrison Chesney ‘20, the team entered the Dix Hills rink with complete confidence in their ability to vanquish their arch rivals. Dylan Ray mentioned, “The team really came together when we needed to—right before the playoffs. We would have to battle hard, but we knew we would be able to win two games against St. Anthony’s.”
Game one commenced on Wednesday, February 26, in Dix Hills. The Flyers got ahead early, as a first period goal from Christian Romeo ‘20 helped the Flyers get off to an impressive start. The game was close throughout, and after three hard-fought periods were concluded, the score was knotted up at 3 goals apiece. In accordance with procedure, the teams went into a sudden death overtime period. After a few minutes of riveting play, Nick Esposito ‘21 netted a clutch goal to claim the first game for Chaminade. The final score of the match was 4-3.
With a 1-0 series lead, Chaminade hosted St. Anthony’s at Cantiague Park in game two of the series. The Friars got on the board first early on in the match. Despite a first period goal by Chaminade sophomore Pat Mavrakis, the Flyers were unable to complete the two-game sweep, and ended up losing the match by a score of 4-1. This loss, however did not discourage the Chaminade players in the least. Senior player Brendan O’Sullivan remarked, “After we lost game two, as a team, we just wanted to forget that performance. We knew we were the better team, and that we were going to win game three.” Harrison Chesney later added, “After losing game 2, we knew there was no way they would beat us in back to back contests. We just had to prove them wrong.”
With the series tied at 1-1, the Flyers once again had to travel to the home rink of St. Anthony’s in Dix Hills. This final game was held on Monday, March 2. After a rather uneventful first period, Nick Esposito came through yet again for a pivotal goal in the second period for the first goal of the match. Subsequently, assistant captain Dylan Ray ‘20 rifled a shot from right in front of the goal line that quickly found the back of the net, putting the Flyers up by a score of 2-0. With a display of strong defense and the consistent dominance of Harrison Chesney, the feeling of victory began to set in for the Chaminade hockey team. A late open-net goal courtesy of Nick Esposito put the nail in the coffin, pushing the final tally to 3-0, and thus securing the program’s first championship victory in half a decade. Chesney attributed the win to the camaraderie between players: “The bond in the locker room was inseparable. Everyone was pulling for each other day in and day out. Everyone was fully invested in this team from the first day of tryouts.”
The varsity ice hockey team has worked tirelessly for the last few years in pursuit of a championship win. Not only did they win the championship this year, but they also did so over their rivals—the St. Anthony’s Friars—with a decisive 3-0 victory. Congratulations to the varsity ice hockey team on defeating the first-place Friars in an action-packed three-game series.