Notre Dame hockey team falls to Brockport, 3-2, but has division title, No. 1 seed in its sights
Following a frustrating 3-2 loss to Brockport this afternoon at the Bill Gray’s Regional Iceplex in Rochester, Notre Dame Coach Marc Staley reflected upon what otherwise has been a successful ice hockey season thus far for the Fighting Irish, who will play a final regular season game on Saturday before hosting a Section 5 Class A Tournament next Tuesday.
“If you would have said to me five weeks ago that we were going to have a season, I would have been thrilled,” Staley said. “If you said to me five weeks ago that we were going to be 7-2-1 and be the No. 1 seed in Class A, I would have said you’re crazy.”
Both the No. 1 overall seed in Class A and the Section V Division 3 championship are in reach for Notre Dame.
A victory over division rival Irondequoit, 8-2-1, on Saturday (7 p.m. at Lakeshore Hockey Arena and Sports Center in Rochester) will give the Fighting Irish the league title while a win or a tie will enable them to retain their current place as the top seed in Class A.
“We’re playing in the highest class in New York State hockey against teams (from large schools) like Webster Schroeder and Hilton,” Staley said. “I think they (Section V officials) looked at our scores early in the season when we won big (and placed us there). But I don’t care where they put us. There’s not a lot of difference between Class A and Class B.”
Today’s game showed that as Brockport, a Class B entry, burst out of the gate, peppering ND’s freshman goaltender Frank Falleti with 13 shots in the first 10 minutes and cashing in on two of them – a goal by Jeremiah Rausch at 6:54 and a power play goal by Henry Schultz at 9:58 (assisted by Rausch).
Notre Dame had a couple of great chances late in the period but the team’s leading scorers, Gavin Schrader and Vin DiRisio, were stymied by Brockport goalie Joseph Volpe. Brockport outshot Batavia 18-8 in the period.
It didn’t take long for the Irish to cut the lead in half as Schrader flipped a backhand shot past Volpe just 33 seconds into the second period for his 17th goal of the season. Vin DiRisio assisted on the goal. ND tied the score about six minutes later when freshman Joe DiRisio made a nifty move to get past the defenseman and found the back of the net.
Brockport, now 7-3-1, responded, however, tallying what proved to be the game’s final goal with 48 seconds left in the period as Tyler Henshaw put away the loose puck in a 4-on-3 power play after Falleti had turned away shots by Rausch and Jonathan LoMonaco.
In the third period, ND drew a couple of early penalties, including a four-minute major, but was unable to capitalize. For the game, they were 1 for 9 on the power play.
Notre Dame kept the pressure on in the final seven minutes, turning a 32-27 deficit in shots on goal to a 37-32 advantage, but Volpe was equal to the task. In the end, Volpe stopped 37 shots while Falleti had 31 saves.
“It was two different games, right,” Staley said. “We were very flat to start the game and, to their credit, they’re up after the first and we had to reassess the situation. What kids are struggling with is that we can’t sneak up on anybody anymore. When you start the season 6-0, 7-1, everyone is looking for you; they’re going to give you their best games and kids are getting up to play us.”
Staley gave the team credit for clawing back from the 2-0 deficit.
“We bounced back and found some energy down the stretch, but we didn’t execute on the power play as well as we needed to,” he said. “We had chances, but their goalie played great and their defense did a nice job of clearing pucks and winning face-offs.
“We got beat on face-offs most of the night and that is a huge stat. Every face-off is eight seconds of possession in hockey. You win 20 draws a game, you’re talking about an extra three minutes of puck possession.”
He singled out the two freshman, goalie Falleti – “in a year or two he’s going to be something,” he said -- and Joe DiRisio, who has 11 goals this season.
“We have so many good players – and they're young,” Staley said. “We only lose five players (after this season).”