King City Lions win third consecutive title

March 11, 2020   ·   0 Comments

By Robert Belardi

The King City Lions defeat St. Brother Andre Cardinals 4-2, bringing home the division one YRAA hockey championship for the third consecutive year.
The irony is, it was the year of the firsts. The Lions won the title for the first time on home ice in Nobleton Arena and went the entire season undefeated in all competitive matches; never accomplished before by any other hockey team in school history.
“It’s huge and in senior year, to do that for the school,” said alternate captain Lucas Ceccarelli after the game.
“We have a great group of guys this year. I’d say probably less skilled than last year but more grit for sure.”
The Lions exemplified their grit and their physicality. For three months prior to the year, the team runs through a weight training program to get in shape. It paid off in this game against the Cardinals.
The team also welcomed back goaltender Anthony Santaguida from injury. Head coach Bradley Matwijec instantly, put him in between the pipes.
In front of a standout crowd from King City, both teams began on the front foot in the first period. There was no hesitation. No fear in being on the big stage.
Remarkably, it was the Lions penalty kill that earned them a few scoring chances, created by captain, Carter Diceman.
“I just play the position,” exclaimed Diceman. “If I see the opportunity I go. If I see their D, flat footed, I just take off. Our D, on our team know I have the speed to beat them.”
After a scoreless first period, both teams went into combat on the ice. It was the gladiators all over again.
Then the first goal finally arrived. Michael Termini got the goal off the rebound. The arena erupted.
It didn’t take long for the Cardinals to respond. On the power play, captain Liam Vogan snuck deeper into the zone and fired home a nice shot from the hashmarks passed Santaguida for the lead.
Towards the tail end of the period, Diceman swatted at the puck like a fly, trapped against goaltender, Matthew Montanari’s pad, and jammed it into the net. The referees allowed the goal despite the appeal from the Cardinals the net had come off the moorings.
Heading into the third period, the Lions laid all their cards out on the table.
“In the locker room we told everyone just to play our game. Don’t get down. Don’t think of the fans from distracting us. Play our game the King City way,” said Diceman.
Although the Lions coughed up the tying goal to Will Mcleod, early in the third period, the boys remained poised. Nothing was going to faze them. Not now.
Nicholas De Angelis and Evan Roccatani held the fort in the defensive end along with the other pairings.
Towards the end of the period, hustling for every puck as the boys have done all game, Nicholas De Angelis wafted a nifty pass across to Michael Critelli on the door step. He rifled the puck in passed Montanari’s glove to seal the victory.
“Just the three on two, just put the puck to the net, Critelli put himself in a great spot, a great play from De Angelis. Great goal,” said Ceccarelli.
The Lions had two more goals after that disallowed. Eventually, Ceccarelli, took advantage of the empty net.
“I think the biggest thing and I said this to them before the game. I said ‘guys, this is what we’ve built for in the last three and a half years. We’ve worked extremely hard to get to this position. We could have a home championship’ and you know what, they came through,” said Matwijec.
Next, it’s off to OFSAA for the Lions beginning March 24. One step at a time. The Lions will look to bring home the greatest medal there is to chase in high school sports, the King City way.



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