HOCKEY DEFENDS LEAGUE TITLE: Varsity Squad Crowned Back-to-Back Champions

The varsity hockey team holds the championship trophy aloft as they celebrate another winning season.

By Tucker Terranova ’23

This past winter, the Chaminade High School varsity hockey team faced Iona Preparatory for the league championship and took care of business, winning 4-3. The Flyers came into this game with a 12-3 regular-season record, finishing the regular season on top of the standings, while Iona finished 10-5, falling right behind them. In the semifinals, Chaminade defeated rival St. Anthony’s High School by a final score of 5-2, while the Iona Gaels bested Monsignor Farrell High School, 8-5. 

Flyers Coach Ed Smith ‘89 said about the playoffs, “The team knew they had a target on their backs, but responded to the pressure well. They knew that they had the hardest job in sports, which is repeating as champions, and were ready for the challenge.”

Both squads came into the game knowing it would be a tough battle after having played three close regular-season games, with the Gaels winning two of them. A large turnout was expected by both schools, as the two powerhouses were expected to produce an exciting matchup.

Getting the nod in goal for the Flyers was Patrick Conway ‘23. When asked about his pregame mindset, Conway stated, “Going into the championship game, I was definitely confident, but nervous. That’s the way you have to go into a game as a goalie, though. If you’re not confident, you won’t get the job done.”

Chaminade skated into the arena looking to take control early, but the plan failed to come to fruition. Iona took the lead nine seconds into the game, making the Flyers realize that this team was not going to go down easily.

The squad regrouped and answered with a goal of their own, courtesy of Bryan Weissler ‘22. After this goal, it appeared that the Gaels’ early momentum had vanished. Chaminade kept its relentless attack going with a goal from Quinn Murray ‘22 to make the game 2-1 before Iona struck late in the first period to tie it up again.

Going into the second period, everyone in the building knew that no matter who came out on top, this game was going to be remembered for a long time by students and spectators alike. It was shaping up to be a classic. 

Both schools’ student sections made themselves heard, showing off their school spirit and hoping to act as a “seventh man” for their teams. The second period—despite no goals scored—was filled with big hits, solid defense, and excellent goaltending. The fans were into the game, and the players fed off the atmosphere they provided.

When the two teams came back out for the third period, it was a whole new game. The Flyers unleashed their strong attack and took control—and they would not give it back.

Their dominance was rewarded when Connor Squeri ‘22 netted the third goal, giving the lead back to the Flyers. Iona was unable to get anything going for the rest of the night, as Chaminade knew the title was within reach and would not let anything get in the way of their destiny. An empty-net goal from Michael Calabrese ‘23 with 58 seconds remaining iced the game and saw Chaminade take a 4-2 lead.

At this point the Chaminade student section erupted, knowing the trophy would be staying at 340 Jackson Avenue for at least another year. Captain Dominic Iadevaia ‘22 received the trophy in the post-game celebration, passed it along to his teammates, and the celebration began.

A long year, filled with ups and downs, had finally led to a championship. Conway stated, “It was definitely a rough road to get to this point. I mean we haven’t had a real season in two years, and half of my team this year (including other juniors) I never even played with because they are three-year varsity players.”

After a year of so much uncertainty, which included an unorthodox season without playoffs, the Flyers united around one goal. While a majority of the Flyers’ key players will be graduating this coming spring, Chaminade still has a surplus of talent and a championship pedigree, making them the favorites for a three-peat next season.

Coach Smith stated that Calabrese, Chris Guglielmo ‘23, James Hedquist ‘23, Ryan Landolphi ‘23, Lucas Lee ‘23, and Patrick Conway will all be players to watch out for next winter. Chaminade’s hockey program has seen a level of success in the past two years that they hope to maintain into next season and beyond. Coach Smith said it best: “The rest of the league now knows that the path to a state championship runs through the Crimson and Gold, not the Black and Gold.”