Celtics defeat Knights in hockey playoffs
By Larry Moko
Having one of their players in the penalty box doesn’t seem to faze the Bishop Ryan Celtics.
In fact, Nicolas Marzilli scored while his team was playing shorthanded as Bishop Ryan skated to a 2-1 playoff victory over the St. Thomas More Knights at Chedoke Twin Pad Arena Wednesday.
That result advances the Celtics to the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic boys’ high school hockey championship game at Mountain Arena Monday. Bishop Ryan will be opposed by the defending-champion St. Mary Crusaders, 6-3 semifinal winners over the Cardinal Newman Cardinals.
“That probably was his third shorthanded goal of the year,” Celtics coach Justin Cannon said of Marzilli’s game-winning third-period marker.
According to Marzilli, he and teammate Matt Shulist, combine to form an offensive “powerhouse” on the penalty kill.
“We always get goals,” he said.
With only five seconds remaining in a three-minute manpower advantage for More, Marzilli swooped out from the sideboards in the Knights end to outguess the goaltender and slide the puck into the net.
That put the Celtics ahead 2-0.
Forward Terry Bridgland of Bishop Ryan had opened the scoring in the second period, intercepting a pass in the slot and firing home a 12-foot wrist shot.
Lukas Taylor then got More on the scoreboard from a scramble in front of the goal crease with 5 minutes, 24 seconds remaining.
“That shorthanded goal really hurt us, especially from a momentum standpoint,” More coach Jason Popovic said. “We battled back, though. We made it close.
“It was a hard-fought game. It could have went either way.”
The Knights pressed hard to score the equalizer but couldn’t get one past Bishop Ryan goaltender Lucas Diklic. “Our goalie has been unbelievable this year … absolutely clutch,” Cannon said. “He has only lost once. He’s 6-1-1.”
Marzilli, a four-year veteran, appeared to score a wraparound goal, too, but it was disallowed because the referee ruled a Bishop Ryan player was interfering with the netminder in the crease.
“(Marzilli) has always been one of our top scorers,” Cannon said. “He kills penalties and plays on both our first line and powerplay. He’s counted upon in those situations.
“This was a great win for us. More is a very hard team to play against.”
The Knights (6-2-1) finished in first place, while the Celtics (3-4-2) came fourth. And in their regular-season meetings, More won 3-2 with the other contest ending in a 2-2 draw.
“We came into this game fired up,” Marzilli said. “They are a great team but we played with heart and came out on top.”
St. Mary finished the regular schedule in second place with a record of 5-2-2. The Crusaders and Celtics faced each other just once (3-3 on Dec. 19).