The defending champion Bishop Hendricken hockey team showed its championship mettle on Sunday when it completed a 2-1 comeback win over the Warwick co-op in the Frozen Four semis, punching its ticket …
The defending champion Bishop Hendricken hockey team showed its championship mettle on Sunday when it completed a 2-1 comeback win over the Warwick co-op in the Frozen Four semis, punching its ticket to this weekend’s title game against rival La Salle.
Tied 1-1 in the third period, Warwick would call a timeout but the Hawks would capitalize off the faceoff. Hendricken’s Griffin Crain would win the draw and send the pass across the ice to a driving Giacomo Caliri who put away the game-winner with 1:48 remaining.
“Griff gave a suggestion (during the timeout), our coaches put it together, it was a great play. We worked on it in practice and it worked like butter,” said Caliri.
“I tried it in the second period and it almost worked, so I was confident in doing it. I knew if I got it through to him he’d be able to bury it, so I let him go to work,” added Crain.
Hendricken trailed 1-0 heading into the third despite doubling the Militia’s shot total through the first two periods of play. Jake Pickering scored a power-play goal in the second to give Warwick the 1-0 lead, but Nate Marshall would tie things up with 8:28 left in the third before Caliri’s game-winner.
“It was just a lack of coverage. We went over our coverage situation, we called the timeout to be able to use our top two lines back to back with just 1:50 left on the clock. It was just a brain freeze, we lost track of our guys in coverage. It hurts to call that timeout, have one lousy second and see it go in. But it happens,” said Warwick coach Mike Boyajian.
Warwick entered the playoffs as the fourth seed while Hendricken was the top club. The two teams played in the regular season with the Militia pulling off the 5-2 upset which was the Hawks’ lone loss of the winter to this point.
Warwick looked poised to deal its crosstown rival another defeat, but experience and hunger took over for the defending champs.
“A lot of our guys have been here before. We were down 3-1 in Game 1 of the finals last year and won it. We knew we’d have our opportunities, we just had to be patient and hope a bounce would go our way and luckily it did,” said Crain. “We were angry, we wanted this back. We didn’t play as well as we should have the first time but we turned around and did today. We worked harder, had more heart, we deserved it. I love this team, (the championship) is going to be fun. I’m excited.”
Hendricken coach Mike Soscia was also thrilled for his team, which he feels has steadily improved this season.
“To see the kids work hard on a play and have it come to fruition, especially in a big game like this, it is fun to see them experience that. We’ve had many tough games throughout the season. We were preparing ourselves all year. The kids believe in us, we believe in them. Trust the process. We didn’t do anything outside of what we normally do. Get low, stay patient, get pucks to the net. They believe in what we’re telling them,” said Soscia.
Next up is the Rams, who the Hawks tied earlier this season. The last time the two clubs met in the championship was during the 2018-19 season, and the Hawks would get the 2-0 series sweep. This year, though, is a single game playoff.
As for the Militia, it will be turning the page toward next winter. Warwick is set to return a large core and figures to be a contender once again.
“They worked hard and they should be proud of what they’ve done this year. In hindsight, they left everything they had on the ice and that’s all you can ask,” said Boyajian. “We developed a good culture for the city of Warwick and the co-op program. Kids coming in will follow suit and we have enough returners to come in with a positive attitude and they now know what it takes to get to the championship game.”