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Hockey: Providence relishes spot in Kennedy Cup finals

Providence goalie JustSalazar. | Allen Cunningham/For Sun-Times Media

Providence goalie Justin Salazar. | Allen Cunningham/For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: March 22, 2014 6:32AM



After 61 games, 53 of them wins, just two victories stand in the way of Providence hoisting the Kennedy Cup for the first time.

The Celtics advanced to the Cup finals by way of dismantling Fenwick in the semifinals in two straight games, 8-2 on Monday and 6-0 on Wednesday. Victory never was in doubt in either instance.

“The guys have been relentless,” Providence coach Nick Iaciancio said. “We’re getting contributions from all four lines and all six defensemen. It’s been good to see.”

It’s certainly has been a team effort. Seven different Celtics scored during Monday’s rout and five different players scored Wednesday. The contributions extend to alternating games between goalies Justin Salazar and Matt Iaciancio, the latter one of two sons with whom coach Iaciancio is sharing this extraordinary experience. The other son is Ryan, a forward.

“It’s been great,” Ryan Iaciancio said. “This is the best season I’ve had so far, and to be able to share it with my brother and my dad has been special. Hoisting the Cup is the only thing on our minds.”

Providence’s opponent is undetermined. The other semifinal, between Notre Dame and Benet, begins Saturday.

Benet prevented Providence (21-0-1) from a perfect mark in the Catholic League, earning a 4-4 tie back on Oct. 19. The Celtics won the two other matches vs. Benet, 3-2 and 5-4. The Celtics swept Notre Dame, 7-3 and 3-1.

“When I came here, the goal was to make it to the Kennedy Cup finals,” Providence forward Andy Guth said. “It’s huge going to the finals. We knew we could do it.”

St. Rita ready for state playoffs

St. Rita begins its quest for a state championship at 7:55 p.m. Thursday with a first-round date against Hinsdale Central at Southwest Ice Arena. The two teams squared off earlier in the season, with the Mustangs registering a 5-3 win.

According to coach Brian Coleman, the key to St. Rita achieving its goal of winning a state title is capitalizing on scoring opportunities.

“We’ve got to score some goals,” Coleman said. “We’ve been doing a great job of creating opportunities, we just have to finish. At times, we’ve been snake-bitten around the net. When we score a few goals early, it relaxes our team.”

Sam Sereiko and Hunter Marcinek have been consistent scorers for the Mustangs. If an extended postseason run is to be realized, others are going to need to find the back of the net.

“You can feel when the (opposing) goalies are standing on their heads against us we start to play out of control and start pressing,” Coleman said. “The more guys that can finish, the better off we’ll be.”



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