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Hockey: Providence wins Blackhawks Charities Holiday Hockey Classic championship

Providence continued its dominating ways Sunday night, winning a 2-1 overtime thriller over Christian Brothers College High School for the Blackhawks Charities Holiday Hockey Classic championship in Bensenville.

Providence shut out Naperville Central 2-0 in the semifinals, but Christian Brothers from St. Louis wasn’t going to go down easy.

The Celtics’ speed was matched, and the Cadets held Providence scoreless until the final minutes of play.

“They were able to keep up speed-wise and the physicality,” Providence coach Nick Iaciancio said. “We had to be patient. It was longer than we wanted but we’ve been playing this way in the tournament. We’ve never given up and good things happen when you get the puck on net, which is what our last goal was.”

Drew Croghan knocked in CBC’s only goal within seconds of the second half but Providence battled until the end. With the clock winding down, Andy Guth found the back of the net to send the game into overtime.

Ben Brandau, who scored the game-winner against Naperville Central, launched a shot between the pipes with a minute left in overtime for his second game-winner and the championship title.

“This team definitely challenged us and made us play our best hockey,” Brandau said. “I was just trying to get a shot. I was ready for a line change after that but luckily it went in.”

“He’s been key all weekend,” Iaciancio said. “That line’s been our most consistent, our best line all year. We expect those types of plays from them.”

In the last 10 years of the tournament, CBC made it to the finals eight times and won four titles.

Providence fell to Glenbrook North last year and wasn’t leaving empty-handed this time.

“In those first couple minutes (of the second half) we were down,” Iaciancio said. “We were having a hard time getting the puck up but I think after a couple saves we were back to normal. We just had to keep attacking.”

Brandau agreed that the Celtics struggled a bit after the CBC goal.

“Everyone’s got emotions. They don’t want to lose,” Brandau said. “But we just tell the guys to keep their heads up and get that goal.”

Jake Dillman also scored for the Celtics in the semis against Naperville Central.

Patrick O’Reilly and Trevor Fisk scored for Neuqua Valley in the semis, but Caesar Sorrentino, Andy McGlynn, Mike Beckham (2 goals) and Croghan scored to lead CBC to a 5-2 win.

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