A showdown with bitter rival St. Joseph by the Sea was on the horizon, but Sean Gargin knew Monsignor Farrell could not overlook last-place St. Mary’s of Manhasset Monday night.
“We had the mindset from the start to not look forward to Wednesday,” the Monsignor Farrell forward said. “We knew we needed to get these two points.”
The Lions did just that, beating the Gaels, 4-1, at World Ice Arena in Flushing, Queens. The victory moves Farrell into sole possession of the fourth and final playoff spot in CHSHL Class A, one point in front of the Vikings heading into Wednesday’s showdown at the Staten Island Pavilion.
“We need all the points we can get,” Farrell forward Vin DiMare said. “We had to look at this one first, which we did. I thought we did really well. Now we’re going to have all our minds focused on Wednesday. We need that too.”
In case there was any doubt, Farrell coach Pete Jerabeck hammered home the point of not looking past the 1-12-1 Gaels.
“This team keeps everyone in line,” he said. “Nobody really blows them out. They’re not bad. We don’t take anyone for granted. That’s when you make mistakes.”
DiMare put Farrell (5-5-3), ranked No. 9 in the LI/NYC power rankings by MSG Varsity, on the right foot just 52 seconds into the game, putting a wrist shot past St. Mary’s goalie Matt Atwell.
Dom Torre made it 2-0 with a wrister from the left circle at 5:31 of the first, but Mike Anzolne responded with a power play goal with 2:43 left in the first to cut the Gaels deficit to one goal.
DiMare, though, added his second goal of the game 4:08 into the second period and Gargin had a big shorthanded goal with 38.1 seconds left to give the Lions a commanding three-goal lead heading into the third period.
“Our chemistry is getting much better, we’re coming together as a team now and we’re starting to get the wins,” Gargin said.
Jerabeck said he liked his team’s effort on Monday, but knows his team needs to be even better Wednesday. No. 6 St. Joseph by the Sea (5-6-2) won both of the first two meetings at the Staten Island Pavilion, beating the Lions 5-3 on Dec. 22 and 5-2 on Jan. 5.
“Losing to them twice did not help us,” he said. “We wouldn’t be in this situation if we beat them twice. I think we’re a better team, but we have to show that.”
To do that Jerabeck knows the Lions need to stop Sea superstar Michael Bronzo.
“I think when you’re playing Sea, you’re playing Bronzo,” he said. “He scored seven goals against us in two games…I’m not taking anything away from their other players, they have a lost of other kids, but he’s the one who has been hurting us.”
The Lions also know that they need to stay out of the penalty box and not let the atmosphere and rivalry overwhelm them.
“Our emotions definitely got to most of our players in the first two games,” Gargin said. “But we’ve grown as a team and we’re not going to let things get to our heads and just play the game.”
While every contest against St. Joseph by the Sea has a playoff-type atmosphere, this one really has a playoff berth on the line with three regular season games remaining.
“Every game against them is big,” DiMare said. “But now that we’re battling for points and it could come down to just that one game, it’s even bigger.”
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