Crusaders land in first place

By Larry Moko

Morgan Giannone’s sizzling goal-scoring pace has helped vault the St. Mary Crusaders to the top of the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic girls’ high school hockey standings.

The Crusaders’ Grade 10 centre scored five goals as St. Mary defeated the Bishop Ryan Celtics 6-1 at Coronation Arena Monday.

That offensive outburst comes on the heels of Giannone’s four-goal performance last week in a victory over the St. Thomas More Knights.

The Crusaders currently find themselves in sole possession of first place with a 5-1 record.

Following close behind, however, in a tie for second place, are the St. John Henry Newman Cardinals (4-1) and the Bishop Tonnos Titans (4-1).

“She’s doing well,” St. Mary coach Jim Brown said of Giannone.

When asked if he has previously coached a player as dynamic at St. Mary, Brown said: “You’d have to go back about 20 years when I had two players that showed a lot of the things you’re seeing from Morgan.”

Peyton Blaney had the other goal for St. Mary, which led 4-0 and 6-0 at the period breaks.
Madison Mair – on a low power-play shot from the slot – replied for Bishop Ryan (2-4) to spoil goaltender Taiya Lakhanpal’s shutout bid.

“We came out really flat in the first period,” Bishop Ryan coach Paul Altobelli said. “They dominated so quickly. That No. 16 just lit it up. It took the wind out of our sails.

“It was hard to recover but we played really well in the third period.”

Giannone occasionally is on a line with her older sister, Mikayla who is a Grade 12 student and captain.

“That’s the nice thing about high school hockey,” Brown said. “There’s probably not of lot of times when they are able to play together.”

At the club level, Morgan Giannone plays for the Oakville Hornets midget AA squad. She has been contacted by NCAA schools regarding scholarship offers and says she knows which one she will formally commit to.

“She’s so dominant,” the Celtics coach said. “She’s got great hands and plays with grit.

“When you have an elite player like that you try to box her out and keep her to the outside. But it’s hard. She can move and has a way of finding space.”

Said Giannone: “I just come out to play the game and have fun. It’s a team sport.

“We’re a very dedicated and hard-working team. We’re always there for each other. We never give up.”

In the boys’ half of the doubleheader, first-place St. Mary edged Bishop Ryan, 3-2.

Source: Marnie Jadon

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