Bishop Eustace Sends Message
Saturday, February 28, 2004

Crusaders top St. Augustine, Capture Title

Courier-Post staff

The Bishop Eustace ice hockey team sent a message Friday night to the all the teams competing in the New Jersey High School Ice Hockey Tournament.

Dominating from the opening face-off, the Crusaders defeated St. Augustine 5-1 to claim the Southern Conference Red Division championship at the Red Bank Armory.

Bishop Eustace received the Handchen Cup for winning the title.

Brett Hextall had a goal and three assists to pace the winning attack. Freshman goaltender Colin Saltiel turned aside 23 shots.

Saltiel stifled the Hermits for the second time this season, the first being a 2-0 shutout in the teams' first meeting. Saltiel wasn't spectacular but didn't have to be as his teammates outshot the Hermits 34-24.

"Colin came up really big in the first game and even though he wasn't tested as much (as in the first game), he played a very solid game," said Bishop Eustace assistant coach Angelo Milicia.

Sean Kohler added a goal and two assists as Bishop Eustace (16-2-1) got goals from five different players to take the season series two games to one.

For St. Augustine (15-2-2), it was only their second loss of the year - but both have come at the hands of Bishop Eustace. Justin Britton scored the lone goal for the Hermits, who pulled within one early in the second period. In the third period, Bishop Eustace extended its 2-1 lead en route to the Handchen Cup.

The two teams are the only South Jersey ice hockey programs recognized by the NJSIAA and both will participate in the state tournament. The Hermits will open up next week's parochial tournament against Pope John, while the Crusaders will square off against Gordon Cup semifinalist and Shore Conference power St. John Vianney.

"They're a tough team but we feel we can compete with any team in the state," said Milicia.

"We are a pretty confident team," said Bishop Eustace head coach Mike Green. "Any time we can stay close going into the third period we know we can win."

Bishop Eustace reached the title game with a 6-5 win over South Brunswick, while the Hermits defeated Middletown South 3-2.