Bishop Eustace settles for 1-1 tie
Feb 10, 2004


Courier-Post Staff

PENNSAUKEN - With a chance to clinch the Southern Conference Red Division regular-season title, the Bishop Eustace Prep ice hockey team threw everything it had at Red Bank Catholic and goaltender Tony Baptist.


However, Baptist was outstanding in net, stopping 49 of 50 shots as the teams traded power play goals in a 1-1 tie.


The Crusaders came out flying in the first period and controlled the play until the final buzzer. Bishop Eustace set the tempo early with strong cycling down low and a dominating physical presence. The Crusaders were strong in the corners and first to just about every loose puck.


Their penalty killing was outstanding and their puck support was equally as great.


Even so, they couldn't crack Baptist for more than one goal.


"You have to give credit to their goaltending and the fact that they didn't give up anything,' Crusaders head coach Mike Green said.


"Their defense crowded the net and we had to take a lot of shots from the outside,' Bishop Eustace junior Tim Purwin said.

Purwin opened the scoring at 1 minute, 47 seconds of the second period, when he got his own rebound and slammed it home. Four minutes later Bishop Eustace nearly extended its lead, but Baptist slid across his crease and denied Crusaders forward Brett Hextall.


The Crusaders' lines continued to dominate the play, keeping the puck inside the Caseys' zone for long stretches. Still, they couldn't get another one by Baptist. Midway through the second period, things began to unravel for Bishop Eustace.


Having decisively outshot and outplayed their counterparts, the Crusaders were frustrated and angry heading into the locker room.

"I think the penalties at the end of the second period really turned the momentum around,' Green said. "Unfortunately, that's something that high school kids have to learn. If you're controlling the momentum of the game, it doesn't make any sense to go to the (penalty) box.'

Just as in the first two periods, the third was dominated by the Crusaders. The Crusaders outshot the Caseys 27-6 in the final frame, but were left shaking their heads. Bishop Eustace continued to pepper Baptist with shots, but never found the back of the net.


The Caseys had nothing to lose going into the game with a third-place finish in the division already cemented. Had the Crusaders won, they would have finished tied with St. Augustine, but won the division based on a head-to-head tiebreaker.


Now, Bishop Eustace likely will finish second behind St. Augustine.


Being unable to clinch was quite a letdown for the Crusaders, but they still can prevail in the Southern Conference playoffs before they get their seed for the state tournament.


"It's kind of a bummer but there is nothing much we can do about it now,' Purwin said. "We are just looking to win the conference playoffs.'

"If we stay composed and play fundamentally disciplined hockey, we should be fine,' Green said. "All the teams in the conference have had close games with each other so it's going to come down to the team that plays intelligently.'


Reach Bob Badders at (856) 486-2424.