Bishop Eustace takes emotional showdown

Saturday, December 16, 2006


Courier-Post Staff


There were glass-rattling hits and pretty goals galore.

And, this being a game featuring two schools that rarely make nice in any sport, there was some extra pushing and shoving, too.

And so it began.

Before a healthy-sized, fervent crowd at the Hollydell Ice Arena, Tyler Hancock tallied a hat trick as Bishop Eustace rolled to a 7-4 win over Gloucester Catholic in the first meeting of the rival schools' ice hockey teams. This winter is just the second varsity season for the Rams, and their first in the Red Division.

"I expected (Gloucester Catholic) to play with a lot of emotion, and they did," said Eustace coach Mike Green. "That's something we're gonna have to get used to with local rivalries -- all teams are gonna come in very emotional to play us."

The Rams used that emotion to their benefit in the opening period. Vince Capone gave Gloucester Catholic a 1-0 lead just over 90 seconds in.

Although Matt Toy tallied the equalizer 12 seconds later, the Rams got a power-play goal from John McSparran with 1:39 to play. Bishop Eustace's Tyler Hancock made it 2-2 before the period ended, but a tie score had to feel like a moral victory for the Rams.

"Our team was really excited to play," said Gloucester Catholic coach Chris Voit. "I was pleased with the first and third periods -- in the second, we kind of got away from our game plan. And we took more than a few bad penalties that hurt us."

In the second, Eustace scored four unanswered goals -- three on the power play -- to take control of the contest. Hancock's second goal of the game -- with 10 minutes left in the second period -- was the eventual game-winner.

"I think I started slow -- and our team probably felt the same way," said Hancock, who now has eight goals in the team's last three games. "We had to pick up the intensity. We picked it up, and everything went well from there."