Hockey: Providence, Benet to open Kennedy Cup finals March 6
By Pat Disabato email@example.com February 27, 2014 4:38PM
Updated: February 28, 2014 2:18AM
Providence coach Nick Iaciancio has stressed to his players to stay out of the penalty box during the Kennedy Cup playoffs.
The Celtics have heeded those words remarkably well during series wins over Mount Carmel and Fenwick.
The biggest test in discipline, however, is about to arrive in the form of Benet.
If the Celtics are is going to prevail in the best-of-3 series and bring home the program’s first Kennedy Cup, they’ll have to maintain their composure.
The last thing Providence wants to do is provide the defending Kennedy Cup champion Redwings with man-advantages.
“We’ve got to keep our hands and sticks down and our mouths shut,” Iaciancio said. “We want to play five-on-five hockey and wear them down with our depth.”
The much-anticipated series begins at 7:30 p.m. March 6 at Arctic Ice Arena, before shifting March 8 to Seven Bridges for a 4:50 p.m. puck drop. The logistics for a potential Game 3 have yet to be worked out.
The added bonus is that there’s a strong possibility the two teams will meet in the ongoing state playoffs. If both teams win their opening-round games Wednesday, they’ll meet March 10 in the state playoffs. It’s likely they’ll play one another three times in a five-day span.
All Providence wants to do is play hockey. The Celtics have been idle since Feb. 17, when they dispatched Fenwick in Game 2 of their Cup semifinal series.
Benet wrapped up its best-of-3 semifinal series Tuesday against Notre Dame.
“We’ve had a couple of nicks and bruises that have been able to heal,” Iaciancio said. “We’re still focused at practice. The kids are getting antsy.”
The two powerhouses have squared off five times this season, with the Celtics boasting a 4-0-1 mark. The Redwings prevented Providence from recording a perfect Catholic League regular season, forging a 4-4 tie Oct. 19. The Celtics were 21-0 against the rest of the league.
All four Providence-Benet games during the season, including two non-league games, has been close, with finals of 4-4, 3-2, 3-1, 5-4, 5-4.
The Celtics’ explosive offense, led by Rich Yusa, Mike Vennetti Jr., Matt Iaciancio and Ben Brandau, produced 20 goals in those five games. Another offensive weapon is defenseman Jordan Ernst, who has the ability to rush the puck up ice and create scoring opportunities.
Benet has serious offensive firepower in Evan Langer, Thomas Feldman and Rob Ernsting. The Redwings also boast an All-State caliber goalie in Justin Davidson, though Celtics netminders Ryan Iaciancio and Justin Salazar have been exceptional.
“They have an All-State goalie and three or four really good goal scorers,” Nick Iaciancio said. “It should be a great series.”
L-W Gold falls to Hornets
Lincoln-Way Varsity Gold couldn’t overcome a group of skilled and determined players from the Chicago Hornets Sled Hockey Team Saturday and dropped a 5-2 decision.
The event raised $681 for the Hornets, a youth sled hockey team composed of players ages 5 to 20. They practice Tuesday nights at Addison Ice Arena and play games against able-bodied teams in Illinois on a regular basis. For more information on the Hornets, contact J.J. O’Connor at DUBLJ95@aol.com.