Hockey: Benet ends St. Rita’s run of Kennedy Cups
By Dan Ruane For Sun-Times Media March 2, 2013 8:58PM
Updated: April 4, 2013 6:28AM
Hats went off to Benet’s Joe Condon. The senior forward scored his second consecutive hat-trick and then added a late empty-netter and in the process stopped St. Rita’s Kennedy Cup streak with a 6-1 semifinal victory Saturday at Seven Bridges Ice Arena in Woodridge.
Condon’s four goals propelled the Redwings (28-12-5) into the Kennedy Cup finals for the second consecutive year and ended the Mustangs (24-11-4) streak of five consecutive Kennedy Cup championships.
“Rita is a great team,’’ Condon said. “They’re a true dynasty. Once we knew we had them in the second round, we wanted revenge after losing to them in the (Kennedy Cup finals) last season.”
Benet’s home rink is Olympic-sized in its dimensions, which is wider than a standard NHL rink. The extra room played well with the speedy Redwings and allowed Benet to get several quality shots on Rita goalie Marty Napleton.
Condon scored the first goal of the game on a wide-open rebound of Evan Langer’s shot early in the first period.
Kevin Sunyog followed that with a goal late in the period that saw the Redwings move up to a 2-0 lead.
“I’ve never had a scoring streak like this one before,’’ Condon said of his seven goals in the two game series. “Langer and (Thomas) Feldman did a great job of setting me up.”
Condon scored two second period goals including the one that brought several hats and towels out onto the ice from the Benet contingent. Through the first two periods, Benet outshot Rita 20-9 but as importantly had 13 quality scoring chances as opposed to just two for the Mustangs.
“Our defense is the best defense in the state,’’ Benet coach Jon Grzbek said. “They keep control of the puck and keep it out of our end.”
The Mustangs lost some key defensive players before the start of the season and only returned Napleton and Christopher Foley as seniors with extensive playing time.
“I’m proud of our team,’’ Rita coach Craig Ferguson said. “Winning or losing a hockey game doesn’t determine who you are as a person.”
Robert Ernsting scored a third period goal for Benet and Tony Faron broke up the shutout with a goal for Rita.