BY BRANDON SCHLAGER
The Tonawanda News
Tonawanda News — AMHERST — To play Federation hockey at St. Joe’s typically means the success of your career will be determined in large part by one overshadowing criteria: How often did you beat Canisius?
The Marauder seniors delivered what will likely be their parting shots against their bitter rivals Thursday night at a packed Northtown center, and they made them count.
Senior forward Dimitrios Gogos scored the game-winning goal 20 seconds into overtime and St. Joe’s finished off a season sweep of Canisius, winning 4-3 to remain undefeated in Federation boys hockey this season.
Gogos was on the receiving end of an outlet pass from Tonawanda’s Michael Iannello just after the puck dropped for the final frame when he walked in past the defense and tucked a low wrist shot by the left pad of the Canisius goalie to give St. Joe’s its second win over the Crusaders in seven days.
“That’s basically what every St. Joe’s kid that plays hockey dreams about,” Gogos said. “Canisius, in overtime. It’s the perfect way to go out. We didn't play our best in the third but we turned it around. … We stepped up when adversity hit and I couldn't be happier.”
All but one of the Marauders’ four goals came off of a senior’s stick.
Iannello finished with two assists and Eric Paradowski and Kyle Moslow chipped in goals of their own. Sophomore Dominic Perna had a goal and an assist and Gogos also assisted on the game’s first two scores to compliment his game winner.
The Marauder veterans likely played in their final game in the rivalry of their careers, unless the two schools meet in the postseason, and it almost ended horribly.
Penalties plagued St. Joe’s all night long, especially in the third period with the Marauders protecting a 3-1 lead.
After an Iannello tripping penalty led to a 5-on-3 power-play goal for the Crusaders, he again found himself watching from the box as Canisius tied the game less than three minutes later.
Luckily for Iannello and the Marauders, the team’s seven penalties never factored into the outcome.
“We said a couple extra prayers tonight,” said St. Joe’s coach Rick Crozier. “Was that an entertaining game or what? I can tell ya, I would’ve been OK with 3-1. But, you know, why not? Why not make it entertaining?
“I’m not going to lie, I wasn’t pleased with what happened in the third. But we have a lot of respect for [Canisius] even though we’re rivals. … You give them an opportunity like that, we left the door open and they went through it.”
With a 5-2 win over Canisius back on Jan. 17 and another key victory over Bishop-Timon three days before that, St. Joe’s has ridden its recent streak of strong play to an 8-0-1 conference record.
After defeating Canisius for the second time, the Marauders wrapped up a first-round bye in the Federation Catholic league playoffs. Their final Catholic league game is on Feb. 3 against St. Francis.
“The Catholic league, I’ll tell ya, everybody’s going to be talking about that one tonight. It was a big win,” Crozier said. “We came out hard. Anytime you beat your biggest rival, that’s a great win.”
- The Marauders’ game hard hat went to senior Kyle Klawon, who missed out on the final St. Joe’s-Canisius contest of his career due to a freak pre-game accident. Klawon slipped on black ice outside during warm-ups before the game and sprained his ankle, preventing him from playing.
“It was pretty tough, missing out on all that,” Klawon said. “I was trying to go ... but I just couldn’t. It was great that my team pulled through and got the job done without me.”
Follow reporter Brandon Schlager on Twitter @B_Schlager.