By Larry Moko
It’s not easy being a high school hockey goaltender. Especially when you have very little experience playing the position.
That’s the situation Olivia Scibetta of the St. Thomas More Knights faced on the ice at Chedoke Twin-Pad Arena against the St. Mary Crusaders Monday.
“We didn’t have a goalie this year so Olivia stepped up,” More coach Trevor Young said following St. Mary’s 8-1 Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic league victory.
“She had never played goalie before or hockey (last spring Scibetta was a member of More’s championship soccer team). She only dressed as a backup a couple of times last year. She’s trying hard to learn the game.”
The More players on the bench showed their support when Scibetta made a difficult save by tapping their sticks against the boards. And on one occasion, all five Knights on the ice formed a congratulatory huddle around Scibetta to offer encouragement after she turned aside another scoring attempt.
St. Mary controlled the play through most of the contest.
“This game wasn’t indicative of the team we are or how we play,” Young said. “We just didn’t play our best. We’re learning to play a little bit different but I don’t think it’s an excuse for today’s outcome.”
The loss was More’s third straight after an opening-game victory over the St. Jean de Brebeuf Braves. As for the Crusaders, they improved their record to 4-1.
The Crusaders raced to a 4-0 first-period lead and added three unanswered markers in the second before Julia Messina netted the lone More goal on an assist from Tiana Faccio.
The leading scorer for St. Mary was Morgan Giannone. She netted four goals. Mikayla Muldoon chipped in with two while singles went to Olivia Stock and Kendra Ruhl.
“Morgan is a second-year player who has lot of hockey experience and skill,” St. Mary coach Jim Brown said. “She’s talented and can really skate when she has the puck.”
St. Mary, which moved into sole possession of first place with the win, had only 10 players available but didn’t seem to be affected by the shortage. Said Brown: “It was a scheduled game on the first day back from a holiday, so we had a few players still in transit who were coming back from vacation. We had a couple of injuries, too.”
Brown is encouraged by St. Mary’s overall play so far this season. “We’ve been OK from the net out,” he said. “We’ve got two experienced goaltenders, six or seven defence players who have played the game before and, up front, we’ve got three steady lines. So far, so good.
“I’m lucky as a coach. I’ve got a lot of girls who are very respectful and willing to make the commitment when they can to represent the school.”
Although the Crusaders are in first place, they have played two more games than the St. John Henry Newman Cardinals who are undefeated in their three starts.
“Newman is a strong team,” Brown said. “They’ve been in the championship the last two years.
They’ve knocked on the door a couple of times and I’m thinking they’re hungry to win it this year.”
In the boys’ half of the doubleheader, first-place St. Mary (3-1-1) topped the Knights, 3-1. The loss evened More’s record at 2-2.
Source: Marnie Jadon