It’s arguably the best rivalry in Cleveland High School sports. The St. Ignatius Wildcats and St. Edward’s Eagles.
The two teams took the ice and faced off for the Brooklyn District Hockey Final on Saturday afternoon. It was a sold out game with people packed from wall-to-wall. Both teams fought hard and the Wildcats pulled away in the third period to win 3-1.
It was an intense atmosphere from the start. The rivalry lived up to the hype and it was an action-packed game throughout the entire afternoon.
Ignatius took little time to jump on the board, as Jared Stepka got the scoring started to give the Wildcats a 1-0 lead just 32 seconds into the game.
The first penalty of the game came just over eight minutes in, as St. Ed’s was called for tripping, putting the Wildcats on the power play.
Ignatius had a few good looks and chances on goal, but St. Ed’s netminder Warren Hill and the Eagle defense stood their ground, keeping it a one-goal game.
Ignatius would commit their first penalty of the game right after their power play ended, turning the tables and giving the Eagles a 5-on-4 advantage.
Even on the power play, St. Ed’s spent most of the two minutes in their own zone, unable to make it count.
The Eagles had one of their best chances of the period with 32 seconds left, but Dylan McKeon made a great save for Ignatius.
Ignatius was called for a roughing penalty in the closing seconds of the period, but would lead 1-0 at the end of one period.
St. Ed’s would start the second period on the power play. Less than 90 seconds into the second frame, Ignatius was called for a hooking penalty, giving the Eagles a two-man advantage for 25 seconds.
The Wildcats returned a man to the ice and even though they were playing 4-on-5 they did not let St. Ed’s take advantage of the power play for the next minute and a half.
St. Ed’s would finally get on the board 4:20 into the second period, as Curtis Szelesta scored an even-strength goal to tie the game at one.
Ed’s committed a tripping penalty with 4:40 to play in the period, giving the Wildcats their second power play opportunity of the day, but St. Ed’s was able to withstand the power play, thanks to Hill’s great goaltending.
Ignatius committed yet another penalty as time expired in the second period and the two teams would head into the third period tied at one.
Ed’s would start the third period on the power play once again and had a couple of great chances, but McKeon held down the fort.
Ignatius went on a 2-on-1 breakaway and Matt Wiegandt scored a short-handed go-ahead goal with 13:38 remaining.
Ignatius struck again with just over six minutes to play, as Bain Kurtz added onto the Wildcats’ lead to make it 3-1.
The Wildcats would hang on, as that was the last goal of the game.
St. Ed’s season comes to an end with a record of 25-12-2.
Ignatius advances to the State Semi-Final to take on Toledo St. Francis de Sales in Columbus on Thursday, March 10th at 7 PM for the chance to play in the State Championship.