Eustace keeps crown


Lou Tumolo of Bishop Eustace (left) and Mike Crisucolo of Middletown North fight for the puck in the Southern Conference Red Division title game Wednesday at the Flyers Skate Zone in Pennsauken. The Crusaders defended their title with a 2-0 win.



Thursday, March 3, 2005

Crusaders claim hockey division title again

Courier-Post Staff
In the past 10 days, Tim Purwin has suffered a concussion and two separated shoulders.

That didn't stop the senior forward from leading the Bishop Eustace ice hockey team to its second straight Southern Conference Red Division title Wednesday.

Purwin scored the game-winning goal on a mini-breakaway with four minutes remaining in the first period and sophomore goaltender Colin Saltiel stopped all 17 shots he faced as the Crusaders defended their title with a 2-0 win over Middletown North High School at the Flyers Skate Zone. Sophomore forward Shane Viola also scored for Bishop Eustace.

"This is my last year," Purwin said. "I don't care what kind of injury I have. There's no way I miss this game."

Purwin suffered a concussion when he was slew-footed from behind in a recent game for the Medford Jaguars. Since then, he has twice separated his left shoulder.

"He's unbelievable," said Saltiel, who improved his record to 14-6 with the win. "I can't even believe he's playing. The kid's got more heart than anybody I know."

Even Flyers captain Keith Primeau, whose son Corey plays for the Crusaders, was impressed with Purwin's courage.

"He's a gutsy kid," Primeau said, "and he's got some wheels, too."

Purwin showed those wheels late in the first period when he broke in on Middletown North goaltender Luke Nesbinal (23 saves) and beat him between the pads for a 1-0 lead. Purwin's linemate, sophomore Tyler Hancock, drew two defenders toward him and when the puck popped loose, Purwin opened the goalie's legs with a backhand-to-forehand move.

"My teammate, Mike Dwier, is always giving me a hard time about not scoring on breakaways," Purwin said. "He showed me a little move and it worked."

A similar move by Viola with 7:10 remaining in the game gave the Crusaders a power-play goal and the breathing room they needed.

Middletown North, which was late arriving to the rink because of traffic, failed to mount much of an attack on Saltiel, whose biggest save came on a breakaway just before Eustace's second goal.

"We had a few opportunities, but we just couldn't get inside," said Middletown North coach Joe Campisano, whose team finished with a 14-7-2 mark, including two losses to Eustace.

"We normally like to work the puck in from the corners, but they did a good job on us in the slot."

As the final horn sounded, Saltiel was tackled by his teammates, who landed in one jubilant pile. After congratulatory handshakes, Eustace players took turns kissing and raising above their heads the Handchen Cup.

"I wanted to win back-to-back championships," Saltiel said, "but I wanted to do it for the seniors, mostly."


Reach Chuck Gormley at