Hockey: Vennetti keys Providence’s win over St. Rita
By Pat Disabato firstname.lastname@example.org January 10, 2014 11:52PM
Updated: February 13, 2014 6:45AM
Mike Vennetti hadn’t been on skates for 14 days.
His return home from a family vacation in Florida was delayed an additional four days because of the nasty weather conditions in Chicago.
Instead of returning Sunday, his family didn’t return until Thursday.
If Vennetti had any rust from the layoff, it wasn’t apparent Friday against St. Rita.
The senior scored three goals, including the game-winner with 1:16 left in overtime, to lead Providence to a 6-5 win over St. Rita at Arctic Ice Arena in Orland Park.
His game-winner came while the Celtics were enjoying a 5-on-3 man advantage. Vennetti made no mistake with the chance, ripping a 15-foot wrist shot past St. Rita goalie Ian Jedlowski.
“I walked in and I saw I had an open lane and took the shot,” Vennetti said. “I was just looking to take the shot. I actually felt good out there. It’s a big win for us.”
The win further solidified the firm grasp the Celtics (17-0-1) have on the top spot in the Catholic League. St. Rita, which had won four of its previous five, fell to 9-5.
“I’ve been giving Vennetti grief all week,” Providence coach Nick Iaciancio said. “But he’s been a key all year.”
Providence jumped out to a 3-0 lead, with Vennetti scoring twice and Jordan Ernst once.
Not by a long shot.
St. Rita countered with three goals in a span of 5:32 to tie the game.
Tony Faron ignited the comeback with a goal from in tight to make it 3-1. Just 39 seconds later, Hunter Marcinek converted a nifty pass from Sam Serieko that brought the Mustangs to within one at 3-2.
St. Rita then took advantage of a power-play opportunity. Marcinek unleashed a rocket from the right point that eluded goalie Justin Salazar and tied the game 3-all at 3:48 of the second.
“We kind of fell apart and took it easy” said Ernst, who sent a St. Rita player sprawling with a crushing check in the first period. “We thought we had the game won. But it was huge for us to win this game. He (Vennetti) surprises me every game.”
Patrick Francis gave the Celtics a 4-3 lead with 10:55 left in the third period. St. Rita, however, tied the game 4-4 when Serieko crashed the net and scored with 4:37 remaining in the third.
Providence’s Dan Ricker then converted a short-handed goal, taking a nifty pass off the boards from Ben Brandau and scoring for a 5-4 lead.
Just 1:17 later, though, St. Rita’s Ryan McGrath unleashed a slap shot from the point that tied the game and forced overtime.
St. Rita was whistled for two penalties, one at the end of regulation and another in overtime, that pretty much set the Celtics up for the game-winner.
“We battled back,” St. Rita coach Brian Coleman said. “We didn’t do a very good job of keeping our emotions in check at the end. But the guys know they can play with one of the, if not the, best team in the state.”