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Quarterfinal #2: Fenwick 10 Brother Rice 8

By Aaron Brown


LINCOLNSHIRE, IL - When Sean Davis scored at the buzzer to end the first half and give Brother Rice a 5-3 lead, it looked like all of the games momentum had swung in the Crusaders' direction. After all, they had just outscored Fenwick 5-1 in the second quarter to bounce back from an early 2-0 deficit. Plus, they had five minutes to listen to a raucous crowd celebrating the last-second goal and the two goal lead and believing they could knock off the defending champions.


Moments like that can define a champion. Make that a six-time defending champion. On the other side of the pool deck, Fenwick had five minutes to think about how they went from holding their rivals scoreless in the opening seven minutes to giving up three straight goals and not being able to find themselves in the second period. On top of that, when Dan Francisco's shot hit the crossbar with four seconds left, they probably could not even fathom allowing Davis to loft a shot that sailed over their goalie's head and into the net as the halftime buzzer sounded.


Their reponse? First, the Friars drew an ejection that allowed Matt Farmer to score in the first two minutes of the second half. On their next possession, Connor Brown earned a penalty shot that Will Rigali slammed home to tie the game at 5-5. Then, Ted Herbstritt found Farmer open on the left post, and his goal gave Fenwick back their lead just four minutes after they had to sit and think about their two goal deficit.


The Friars weren't done. Brown completed the 4-0 second half surge with a goal of his own, and Fenwick had regained control of their destiny just as quickly as they had seemingly lost it in the first half. Nick Joslyn got the Crusaders back within one score when Stelnicki found him open after drawing an ejection. But Chris Dan had an answer in the final minute of the period, giving the Friars an 8-6 lead with a goal from five meters out.


The game was not over by any stretch of the imagination, but the momentum had clearly shifted to the Fenwick side entering the last seven minutes of play. Davis scored his fourth goal of the game early in the period to cut the lead to one, but the Friars had already shown the resolve of a champion, and they weren't going to let this contest slip away. Less than twenty seconds later, John Osborne drew an ejection and DJ Gallo connected on a shot from inside five meters. And with Rice pressing for a quick response, Farmer saw an opportunity to be aggressive and sprinted ahead of the defense to score a breakaway goal that put Fenwick ahead 10-7 with four minutes left in regulation. The Crusaders were able to add a goal by Steve McGinnis with a little over two minutes remaining, but the Fenwick defense held them scoreless the rest of the way to advance to the state semifinals with a 10-8 win.


Rigali scored 4 times to lead Fenwick, including three penalty shot conversions in key situations. Farmer also was vital to the Fenwick attack, as he added 3 goals in Fenwick's 7-3 second half run. Brown, Dan, and Gallo each added one score apiece for the Friars.


Davis scored 4 total goals, including three scores during the Crusaders' 5-3 second quarter run. Joslyn scored 2 goals while both McGinnis and Stelnicki chipped in with a goal each in the losing effort.


Fenwick advanced to Saturday's semifinal for their second straight game against a Catholic League opponent, as they take on St Ignatius at 9:00am. The Wolfpack earned a 14-8 victory over McHenry in the night's first game.




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