Today: Jun 18, 2024

Ice Owls push record 17-1

Sean Meenaghan — Photo Editor
Kyle Amarone scored one goal and had an assists on Friday and had one on Saturday

RYAN MORGANManaging Editor

The Ice Owls are still No. 1 after defeating Fairfield 7-3 on Friday night and Wagner 8-2 on Saturday. Both wins were team efforts as the Ice Owls passed the puck around their opponents.

On Friday, the Ice Owls teamed up with Colleges Against Cancer to raise money for “Hockey Moms Against Breast Cancer” and this spring’s Relay for Life. The fundraiser packed the stadium, setting the stage for a loud, rough game as fans grew rowdy. Newly named coach Matt D’Amato said he anticipated the intense play.

“We told them not to give up. We knew this game was going to get scrappy,” said D’Amato. “I told them to keep their heads up and play.”

Mike Diglio was the first of many to find the net, less than a minute into action with an assist from Kyle Amarone and Joe Barnes. The Ice Owls took D’Amato’s advice and added two more goals before the end of the first period, as Justin MacGregor and Tom Roche each scored. Shayne O’Brien was in goal for the Owls. With over seven saves in the first period, O’Brien shut down the Stags offense.

“I just tried to stay together and not let the stands get in my head,” said O’Brien.

But the Stags came out ready to fight in the second period. Fairfield snuck two past O’Brien, cutting the Owls’ lead to a close 3-2 score with 10 minutes remaining in the second period.

“The first one, I was trying to be a little fancy and it misfired on me,” said O’Brien. “The second was a good goal, but after that I was able to get my head together.”

O’Brien went on to save shot after shot, allowing only more goal in the remainder of the game.

“I say what an amazing help [Mike] Fedrico [the starting goalie] is all the time, but it’s an even bigger help having Shayne as a backup. He could be any one else’s starter and we are lucky to have him,” said captain Joe Innamorato.

The Ice Owls continued to outplay Fairfield for the rest of the game. After allowing Fairfield to score two goals, Steve Rosenkratz took the momentum back for Southern with an assist from Roche. With less than two minutes to go in the second period, Innamorato took a shot on the Fairfield goalie, who made the initial save but failed to clear the puck. Nik Bakos was in front of the net ready for the rebound and made goal No. 5 for Southern.

“We just stayed strong and calm. We were confident we could get it going again if we played our game and skated hard,” said Innamorato, “and that’s what we did.”

With just under six minutes to go in the third period, Amarone found the net for goal No. 6. Logan Gauvin followed suit, tallying No. 7 shortly after. Fairfield scored once more before the game ended but it was no use, as Southern defeated the Stags 7-3.

The team effort continued Saturday night, as five players scored in an 8-2 win over Wagner. Seniors Innamorato, Roche and Anthony Dercole enjoyed their last home game as Ice Owls. Innamorato went out in style, tallying three goals and three assists. Michael Penna added two goals for the Ice Owls and Bakos, Gauvin and Amarone each had one apiece. Rosenkrantz finished the night with six assists, getting in on almost every scoring play.

“It was really bittersweet,” said Innamorato. “It was my last home game, but it capped off a season where we were 8-0 at home. So it was a great way to finish my career at home. Luckily, [Rosenkrantz] gave me a million great passes so I was thankful to get a few goals off of those chances.”

The Ice Owls travel to Albany next weekend for their final two regular season games.

“I wouldn’t have wanted to do this with any other group of guys. We are such a close team and I think the camaraderie that we have with one another plays a huge factor in why we have been so successful this year. So I’m just extremely thankful for being able to spend my last year surrounded by such great teammates,” said Innamorato.

After Albany, the Ice Owls will prepare to defend their No. 1 ranking at the league championships at the end of the month and the national tournament in March

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