All season long, the main area of concern with the Fenwick hockey team was its lack of capitalizing on key opportunities.
Last Thursday night in Crestwood, the Friars had a number of chances early on to take control of the do-or-die Game 3 Kennedy Cup Final showdown against St. Rita. Fenwick, however, was unable to make the most of its chances.
Despite bending at times, St. Rita goalie Terence Hughes never broke. And because of that, the Mustangs captured their first Kennedy Cup since 1992 with a 4-2 victory over Fenwick in front of a capacity crowd at Southwest Ice Arena.
‘I gave up a couple goals in the third period, but I never let them bother me,’ Hughes said. ‘I just kept my focus.’
Trailing 2-0 to start the third period, Fenwick rallied twice to cut the deficit to one. But Chris Cimoch’s empty-net goal with eight seconds to play ended the Friars’ chance of capturing their sixth consecutive Kennedy Cup.
St. Rita won the best-of-three game series 2-1.
‘The kids never quit,’ Fenwick coach Dan Wolff said. ‘We didn’t catch the breaks we needed, but we kept pushing to get the tying goal. That’s why I told the kids after the game to keep their heads up.’
After Fenwick goalie Peter Szczepanski came up big to help kill two St. Rita power plays early in the third period, the Friars made it 2-1 on Matt Wilcox’s goal with 7:33 to play.
But less than a minute later, St. Rita, which won the Kennedy Cup in 1975 and 1984, responded with Charlie Longo’s second goal of the game to extend the Mustangs’ lead to 3-1.
‘We had our backs against the wall a couple times in the third period,’ Longo said. ‘But everyone played great, and this feels amazing. This is something we have been working toward since the start of the season.’
Ryan Glazier brought Fenwick back within a goal when he scored with 1:27 left. Paul Cook recorded his second assist of the period on Glazier’s goal.
But that would be the last goal Hughes would allow, as he finished the night with 26 saves. Szczepanski was just as impressive with 32 saves in 35 chances.
“We had a great run,” Wolff said. “Some people didn’t think we’d be here, but these kids worked hard to keep our streak going.
“We just didn’t catch the breaks early on in this game. If we would’ve, it may have been a different story.”