Saltiel turns back Hermits

SCOTT ANDERSON/Courier-Post
Bishop Eustace goalie Colin Saltiel (left) deflects a shot as St. Augustine's Zack Sterin looks for a rebound in the second period of Friday's game.

BISHOP EUSTACE 4
ST. AUGUSTINE 2
Hot: The Crusaders are 9-0-2 in their last 11 games.

Holy War III: The two could meet again in the New Jersey Ice Hockey League Tournament. Eustace has owned the series, winning both games this year.

It's not in their heads, or is it: Colin Saltiel has turned away 67 shots in a pair of wins over St. Augustine this year.

The Unseen Hermits: After a passionate evening in Vineland last month, the St. Augustine crowd was notably smaller this time around. Granted, the Hermit faithful had to travel up from Richland to Pennsauken this time, but Eustace was much better represented when the game was held in Vineland.

 

Saturday, February 11, 2006


By MICHAEL RADANO
Courier-Post Staff

PENNSAUKEN

The Bishop Eustace ice hockey team does things in a very specific manner.

The fact is, at times, the Crusaders can be downright boring.

"Well, if you have a goalie like Colin, it's a natural choice," Eustace coach Mike Green said. "We don't plan on high-scoring games. It's just not what we plan to do."

Certainly not with Colin Saltiel in net.

Bishop Eustace, on the strength of 36 saves by Saltiel, beat arch-nemesis St. Augustine 4-2 at the SkateZone Friday. It was the second time this year Eustace (9-0-2 in its last 11 games) handed the Hermits a loss, but St. Augustine remains the New Jersey Ice Hockey League Southern Conference Red Division champion for the regular season.  The Conference playoffs begin next week, with Eustace the defending back-to-back champions.

"I don't think it's an issue," St. Augustine coach Ralph Triboletti said. "Look at the board. We outshot them 38-22. We had some chances. The key is we just have to put the puck in the net."

That's something Eustace just did a better job of Friday.

With a defensive mindset -- and Saltiel -- Eustace actually opened the game on the attack. Two quick goals by Tyler Hancock and Chris Gentile gave the Crusaders a 2-0 first-period lead.

"We have to have better first periods," Triboletti said. "We've had really strong third periods all year."

Given two goals, Saltiel casually slid back deep into his net and waited for the game to come to him. For the most part, Saltiel faced shots that came down lanes and right to him which he swatted away or casually caught.

"Yeah, I saw the puck well tonight," Saltiel said. "That's a product of my defense. It's never old. It gets better every time (we beat St. Augustine) and this may have been the best win of all of them.

"I know they're having mental problems when it comes to scoring on us. You can see it, and I think our two goals were definitely unexpected."

St. Augustine did get one back on the first of Zack Stern's two goals with 13:11 left in the second period. The goal put the Hermits on the attack, but Saltiel stopped a pair of breakways and big-time chances to keep the game even.

Saltiel felt that St. Augustine got more frustrated as the period went on, and pointed to that as a reason for a pair of late second-period penalties to Anthony Casale and Jeff Buvinow that set up a 5-on-3 situation.

Triboletti climbed off the bench and on the boards to discuss -- or disgust -- the second penalty, but to no avail. Given the chance, Al Wooley hit a blast from the point to make the score 3-1 and Hancock, on a nifty move through the slot, went high with a pass from Taylor Morgan for a 4-1 lead.

"He came right back to me and I just waited for (Hermits goalie Kevin Healey) to step down and I went high," Hancock said. "I was concerned they were going to come back, but we're a good team as well. They're a rival and you never know."

Well, Hancock, Eustace and especially St. Augustine know one thing now, Saltiel is always ready.

"Colin's Colin," Hancock said with a broad smile. "Can't say anything more than that."

Reach Michael Radano at (856) 486-2424 or mradano@courierpostonline.com