Leads Team in Win over Archrival
PENNSAUKEN - Colin Saltiel spent a timeout skating around the fringes of the Bishop Eustace Prep Ice Hockey huddle.
Though there were only sixty-four ticks left on the third-period clock, the bleachers at the Flyers Skate Zone were quaking and the face-ff with arch rival St. Augustine was about to take place right in front of him, the sophomore goalie was positively cool.
Or at least that’s how it appeared.
“It was pretty nerve-racking,” Saltiel admitted later.
Saltiel’s commanding performance was the only difference on Friday night, as Bishop Eustace beat St. Augustine 1-0.
The shots were nearly even, with the Hermits outshooting Eustace 33-31. But the Crusaders got an early power-play goal when Alex Wooley put a long shot past a screened Kevin Healy. Brad Schuler got the assist.
“I don’t think we played badly at all,” St. Augustine coach Ralph Triboletti said. “If there was any difference, it’s that Bishop Eustace is used to winning.”
Saltiel affected the game almost immediately, quelling a pair of breakaways in the first five minutes. Then he made three saves on a Saint Augustine power play.
Wooley’s goal with 4:36 left in the first gave Eustace the edge, but too much hockey remained for anyone to be comfortable. In fact, the remainder of the first period and the whole second were a thrilling chaos of penalties, power plays, and pucks in the crease.
Saltiel said the most important moment of the game was the final 30 seconds of the second period.
“They had the puck and we knew we weren’t getting it out,” he said. “You don’t want to give up a goal right before you go into the locker room.”
Michael Green agreed.
“You watch enough hockey, you know when something’s coming,” the Bishop Eustace coach said. “St. Augustine was pushing hard there, and to go to the locker room tied would have been real tough.”
But Saltiel and the Crusaders defense stood tall as play evened out in the third period. Thought the scoring chances kept coming, the teams played at full strength until there was 3:23 left, when Bishop Eustace picked up a delay of game penalty.
“I knew we had it then,” Saltiel said, causing Green to start laughing a couple feet away. “Really, I knew our defense would come through.”
Saltiel made two saves and the Crusaders did manage to kill that penality, but the Hermits kept flying around the ice. After a Saltiel glove save with 1:04 left, they called timeout for one last charge.
St. Augustine has a clear shot on goal with three seconds left, but Saltiel went to the ice to smother it, spending the last two seconds of the game at the bottom of a churning pile of players on top of the puck.
The victory gave Bishop Eustace (4-1) temporary command of the Southern Red Division of the New Jersey Interscholastic Hockey League. St. Augustine (4-1-1) will hope to get revenge Jan. 28 when it hosts Bishop Eustace at the Vineland Ice Arena.