Put pucks on net and crash for rebounds.
It’s a pretty simple formula for success, but it been something lacking for Iona Prep at points this season.
“At this age and this level of experience, 80 percent of the goals are scored off rebounds,” Gaels coach Pat Scanlon said. “We’ve been looking for it all year, we’ve been complaining we haven’t had enough of it.”
In Game 1 of the CHSHL Class A best-of-three semifinals Tuesday afternoon, the Gaels got gritty and pounded rebound after rebound into the net in an 8-4 win over Chaminade at Iceworks in Syosset.
The third-seeded Gaels can clinch a berth in the best-of-three finals with a win in Game 2 Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Ice Hutch. If second-seeded Chaminade (15-7, 11-6 CHSHL) wins, a decisive third game would be played Feb. 14 at 5:15 p.m. back at Iceworks.
“Tonight we did it,” Scanlon said. “We knew what to do but, fruition. It came together tonight.”
Iona Prep (10-6-1 CHSHL) lost to Chaminade twice during the regular season, but a 2-0 win over the Flyers on Jan. 28 gave the Gaels belief they could find success in the postseason.
“We came in with a lot of confidence,” senior forward Joe Gangi said. “We knew what we had to do and what we had to fix and we fixed it out there tonight.”
It was after that game Gangi said the team adopted a motto for their group and “Band of Brothers” was born. It’s about playing for each other and holding each other accountable. It’s about one strong shift followed by another.
“We’re starting to come together as a team and fighting together as a team,” Gangi said.
According to Scanlon, that mentality perfectly matches his team’s persona this season.
“We joke about it all the time that we’re four second lines,” Scanlon said. “There’s no first line and there’s no third line. That’s what we look for and we work our butts off. That’s our thing.”
Gangi led the charge offensively with two goals and two assists.
“Speed and persistence. He’s almost a clone of his linemate Ryan Neysmith,” Scanlon said of Gangi. “They both keep coming at you. They don’t stop. There’s no free ride with those guys.”
Neysmith had two goals and one assist, Leo Castellaneta had a goal and three assists, Thomas Oddoux scored directly off a faceoff and Jake Lipsky and Ryan Murphy each potted rebounds as part of a 39-shot effort for the Gaels.
“Everyone did their job and everyone as a team contributed tonight,” Gangi said. “It was very good.”
Iona Prep, which led wire-to-wire, jumped in front just 3:28 into the first period. Twice Chaminade, which was paced by a Tim Landolphi hat trick, pulled within a goal, including 3-2 on a Landolphi snipe with 5:10 left in the second.
But the Gaels responded with three consecutive goals, including two in less than two minutes early in the third period, to blow the game open.
“We fought hard,” Gangi said. “We just wanted to send a message to Chaminade.”