January 14th, 2011

Trinity Hockey Puts Tigers On The Rocks

Paul Najjar

CSN Staff Writer

Trinity Hockey Puts Tigers On The Rocks
photo courtesy Paul Najjar

Shamrocks end three-year drought against St. X      

The Trinity Shamrocks started fast and never let up as they diced through the St. Xavier Tigers on their way to a 9-2 thrashing at a packed, standing room only Iceland Arena Friday evening.


Trinity’s top sniper, Senior Alex Harmata averages a hat-trick per game, but actually did one better as he scored four goals in this rivalry match.


Slap Shot this was not.


The Shamrocks put on a display of clean, crisp, physical hockey from start to finish and defeated St. X for the first time in three years. For this senior-laden team, it was a welcome relief. But it wasn’t without some adversity early in the week as snow days cancelled a game and a practice.


“We really pulled together even though we missed some ice time,” said Trinity Captain Daniel Carey. “We passed well. We crashed the net hard. They’ve beaten us up the past few years, so we really wanted this one.”


Those missed opportunities to get on the ice were a bit of a concern for Trinity Coach Buddie Jaha, but his team was clicking from the first minute of the game. “We kind of came up to another level,” said Jaha. “I was real pleased with how they rallied together. They were patient and the speed in transition was excellent. Our goal is to step the speed up to the next level every game and the boys seemed to have done that this time.”


Trinity notched their first goal at the 11:46 mark of the first period on a power play goal from Carey with assists from Alex Boyce and Harmata. Just a minute later, St. X was called for another penalty and Trinity’s power play went back to work. This time it was Harmata ringing in his first goal at the 10:05 mark with a crisp assist from Chase Swabeck, and a bit of a lucky bounce. “I tried to deflect it in,” said the humble Harmata, “but I kind of bounced it off my knee and got a little lucky. In a game like this, I’ll take it.”


The Rocks dominated the first 15 minutes of action with speed, precision and a physical play all over the ice. Assistant Captain Keane Gleason closed out the first period scoring for the Rocks scoring at the 3:24 mark with an assist from Junior Chris Kelly.


Up 3-0 at the end of the period, it was clear that the Tigers needed a spark if they wanted to stay competitive. And they did just that. The Tigers top line features a lot of speed in wingers Alex Senn and Deron Steinbrecher and those two executed a perfect two-on-one just :54 into the period. The speedy Senn carried the puck from his own end down the left boards and feathered a centering pass right on Steinbrecher’s stick for the deflection into the goal. At 3-1, and with 29 minutes to play, the game was about to get interesting.


That’s when Captain Carey took over for the Rocks. Not two minutes after the pretty goal from the Tigers, Carey rifled a slap shot off the post, put a crushing open-ice check on Steinbrecher and dealt the puck to Boyce who found Harmata open in the slot. Two swift, accurate passes; one very nice goal. “We had a great series of passes going,” said Harmata. “I was in front of the net and Boyce gave me a nice feed and I put it in five-hole.” With 12:09 left in the second period, Trinity led 4-1 and the rout was back on.


But Trinity took a tripping penalty at 9:24 and gave the Tigers some life. The resulting power play saw St. X ratchet up the pressure and intensity as they peppered shot after shot at Trinity Goalie Blake Berger. The Tigers pressured the Trinity zone with crisp puck movement and a solid attack. Berger turned aside everything the Tigers threw at him including the best save of the game.


Senn used his speed to blow by the Rocks defense and get a clean breakaway on Berger. Senn made a nifty move as he transferred the puck from his left to right with a little head-and-shoulder fake, but Berger didn’t budge and stoned Senn’s shot with his left leg completely extended. It was the play of the match, made by the player of the match.


“They had some huge shots and they were coming at me at a fast pace,” said a barefoot and chilled Berger. “I knew that (Alex) Senn is really fast and he has really quick hands. I had to watch out for him. I read his move and got my leg out (for the save).”


Coach Jaha gushed at how well Berger played. “The effort from our goalie was excellent,” he said. “We got excellent play from him tonight. He earned the #1 star tonight.”


That big save from Berger led to Trinity’s next goal by Kelly, who celebrated his birthday with a goal and an assist. “It’s been a tradition that we play St. X on my birthday,” said Kelly. “All three years we’ve played them it’s been on my birthday so I get pretty pumped up, used a little birthday energy and got a goal.” Nothing like a goal in the biggest game of the year on your birthday. What was his post-game plan? “Probably just go home and go to bed,” said an exhausted Kelly.


Kelly’s goal ended the second period scoring and sapped any type of comeback the Tigers could muster. Trinity got third period goals from Harmata, Mike Kylcek, Jake Rosenfeld, and Harmata before Steinbrecher fed Senn for St. X’s final goal.


“It was awesome to win,” said an elated Boyce. “We haven’t beaten them in the past three years so it was great to finally beat them.”


What’s in store for the Shamrocks? “I look forward to winning a lot more games this year,” said #2 star Harmata. “And hopefully taking home the state championship trophy. We’ll go out of state and try to beat some teams on the road and let people know what Louisville hockey is all about.”



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