Tonawanda News — Zach Klapp and Michael Iannello grew up as friends in Tonawanda. When they both decided to attend St. Joe's, hockey had a lot to do with it. They wanted to be a part of the tradition and the atmosphere.
"You go to Joe's because you want to play hockey for them and make the Fed team," said Iannello, a senior captain and top defenseman for the Marauders. "The whole experience with the guys is a good time. It's a different atmosphere than a public school. I think it's helped me excel through my high school career."
St. Joe's is off to an almost perfect start in the Federation. The team is sporting a 7-0-1 league record and notched a big 5-2 victory over rival Canisius on Jan. 10 — and its "Tonawanda connection" has been a big reason why the Marauders have been so successful, said coach Rick Crozier.
"We're a Tonawanda school and we draw upon this community," he said. "It has an excellent recreation department and over the years I've been coach we've had some great hockey players and great individuals from the Tonawanda area. It's no shock to me that two of our captains are Tonawanda-based players."
Klapp and Iannello are the embodiment of the Marauders' identity as a hockey team: hard work and toughness. Crozier said that Klapp, the team's top center, is a power forward that is tough to knock off the puck, bringing strong physical presence.
Iannello anchors the defense and Crozier said that he is able to use him in every situation — five-on-five, power play and on the penalty kill. He's also developed into an offensive threat.
"He's scored some big goals for us this year," Crozier said. "One that comes to mind is a beautiful goal against Williamsville North earlier in the season that got things going for us."