When Fenwick goalie Vincenz Barsanti takes the ice Thursday night at Homewood-Flossmoor Ice Arena, the senior will realize the Friars have a chance to skate into Kennedy Cup history.
“This is huge,” said Barsanti, whose squad is shooting to become just the second program to accomplish a five-peat in the Catholic League’s 43-year history. “We want to win No. 5.”
But to do that, Barsanti and Co. will have to do something it hasn’t been able to do all season-beat Mt. Carmel.
Not only will the Friars have to do it once, but they’ll need to pull off the feat twice in the best-of-three finals if they plan to claim their fifth consecutive Kennedy Cup. Game 1 is scheduled for 7:30 p.m., while Game 2 is slated for 7:20 p.m. Tuesday at Southwest Ice Arena in Crestwood.
“This is what you work for all season,” said Barsanti, whose team is winless in its four meetings with the South Side program this season.
Fenwick earned its date with hockey history last Thursday night in Oak Park.
Thanks to Mike Freitag’s third goal of the game as time expired in overtime, Fenwick locked up a berth in finals with a thrilling 5-4 victory over St. Rita in Game 2 of the Kennedy Cup semifinals at Ridgeland Common Ice Arena.
“KC (Madock) won the faceoff, Nick (Powers) got me the puck, and I just hit it,” said Freitag, whose squad swept the best-of-three series with back-to-back 5-4 overtime wins. “When the puck went in, I was just thankful the game was finally over.”
The Friars wasted little time finding the net against St. Rita, as Ryan McLean lit the lamp less than three minutes into the contest. After Chris Cimoch tied the game for the Mustangs, Fenwick scored three unanswered goals-two via the power play and one short handed.
Tony Tedesco made it 2-1 before Freitag’s first goal of the night extended the cushion to 3-1. Freitag then sent the overflow of Fenwick fans into a frenzy with his second goal, which gave the Friars a somewhat commanding three-goal cushion with 3:26 left in the second period.
St. Rita, however, responded with three unanswered goals of its own. Brian Basic and Patrick Gross recorded the first two goals. Gross completed the comeback with his second consecutive goal with 1:36 to go in the third period.
But just as he has all season, Freitag rose to the occasion in overtime.
“They had all the momentum when they tied the score,” Freitag said. “I was just thinking that we can’t lose this one and let the series go back to their home ice. We had to close it our, and we did.”
Fenwick, which has yet to lose in the state’s premier post-season tournament, is in search of its ninth Cup. The Caravan has captured 20 Cups since 1964. Mt. Carmel won six consecutive Cups between 1985-1990, but hasn’t won one since its four-peat was halted in 2001.