By Larry Moko
Goaltender Dylan Feher of the Cardinal Newman Cardinals hockey team is taking advantage of the unexpected opportunity that has landed in his lap.
Due to an injury to another one of the team’s veteran netminders, Feher has started all five of Newman’s games thus far this season.
That wasn’t supposed to be the plan.
“Dylan has been a pleasant surprise,” Cardinals coach Gerry Moretuzzo said after Feher’s outstanding performance between the pipes helped Newman to a 4-1 victory over the Bishop Ryan Celtics at Gateway Arena Monday. “He’s been fantastic.”
That result improved Newman’s Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic league record to 3-1-1 while Bishop Ryan slipped to 1-3-1.
“Our other goalie has been injured,” Moretuzzo explained. “They were going to split the games. But Dylan has taken the bull by the horns. I would say he’s been our MVP in four games. He’s really mentally invested. He’s always the first guy to the rink, ready to play.”
Feher saw limited action last season when the Cardinals divided playing time between its three goalkeepers.
“The defence in front of me has really helped a lot,” Feher said. “They’ve been solid.”
Although Feher is happy about all the playing time he is getting, he “feels bad” for his injured teammate.
He was the MVP last season,” Feher said. “He definitely kept us in a lot of games. Just out of nowhere (because of the injury) he’s not starting at all for us.”
Newman’s goals were shared by Dontae Ferreira, Alex Thersidis, Ryan Ogilvie and Bryce Sullivan.
Centre Matthew Shulist replied for the Celtics.
Newman got the only goal of the first period. On the play, left winger Ferreira gained possession of the puck from a faceoff in the Bishop Ryan zone and darted towards the net before connecting with a high shot to the blocker side.
The Cardinals then padded their lead in the second period on a power play when Thersidis swiped in a rebound after Sullivan’s slapshot from the point was stopped.
The Celtics answered later in the middle frame on an individual effort in the Newman zone by Shulist.
Ogilvie deflected in a point shot by Luca DelSordo with 13 minutes remaining in the third period and Sullivan capped the scoring with an empty netter.
“Generally, we’ve got a good, cohesive unit,” Moretuzzo said. “I think they’ve bought into a team effort of forecheck and backcheck. That’s what we’ve been preaching.
“If we have a committed effort by the group we’ll be fine. This year, more than previous years, there is a lot of parity in the league. Every game we’ve played has been pretty close. We’re in the mix.”
Newman finds itself second in the standings, one point behind the St. Jean de Brebeuf Braves. Brebeuf improved its record to 4-1-0 with a 7-2 win over the Bishop Tonnos Titans in Monday’s other contest.
In the girls’ half of the doubleheader at Gateway Arena, Cardinal Newman defeated Bishop Ryan, 2-1, to move into sole possession of first place. It was Newman’s fourth victory in five games.