Cardinals Stun Titans to Secure Playoff Victory!

Newman Cardinals Stun Titans to Secure Playoff Victory!
Posted on 02/14/2024

By Larry Moko
The St. John Henry Newman Cardinals are still alive in the boys’ high school hockey playoffs thanks to a last-gasp effort.

Newman skaters crashed the net and scored the tying goal from a wild scramble in front with just 10.7 seconds remaining on the clock to send their quarter-final to a penalty shootout. Then, the Cardinals connected for a shootout goal in a 4-3 victory over the Bishop Tonnos Titans at Morgan Firestone Arena Tuesday.

With the result, Newman advances to play the defending-champion Bishop Ryan Celtics in one of two Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic high school semifinals Thursday. The other matchup is between the St. Thomas More Knights and the St. Mary Crusaders.

A Tonnos player was in the penalty box at the time of the tying marker. The goal was credited to Nolan Methot – his second of the game.

“We never gave up,” Newman coach Matt Pritchard said. “That power play was big. The guys played hard and we were all over them for the last minute. We got a little luck and the puck came our way.”

The Cardinals, who were outplayed by the Titans, finished last in the regular-season standings with a record of 2-8. In comparison, Tonnos ended up in third place (5-3-2). The Titans also took both games from Newman (2-1 and 4-2) during the regular schedule.

 “I’ve never been more proud of this team,” Pritchard said. “We fought all year. We lost a lot of close games and never quit.”

The other Newman goal during regulation time went to Will Walihura.

Thomas Leone, Josh Aube and Cohen Carter replied for Tonnos which took the lead three times.

In the shootout, Newman netminder Owen Papp was unbeatable in three tries while Tonnos goalie Jacob Ceranic blocked the first attempt before allowing a high shot to the stick side by Brady McConnell to get past him.

McConnell is a defenceman, assistant captain and a Grade 10 student. He was chosen to be one of the shooters for several reasons, the Newman coach said.

“We know he’s really good with the puck on his stick,” Pritchard said. “He actually knows that goalie, so I said ‘hey, you know him better than anyone out here, do your thing Brady.’ We trusted him and he came through for us.”

McConnell and Ceranic are teammates this season with the Oakville Rangers AAA U16 squad.
“I’ve played with that goalie all my life,” McConnell said. “My coach was hoping I would know where to shoot.

“I wasn’t confident. I’ve taken so many shootouts on him I was out of moves. I just got lucky.”
In the second half of the playoff doubleheader, St. Mary got two third-period goals from Tyler Macdougall en route to a 3-2 victory over the St. Jean de Brebeuf Braves.

James Bottineau had the other goal for the fifth-place Crusaders (2-7-1) while Caden Okis chipped in with a pair of assists.

Isaiah Slegtenhorst and Sandro Guttaiano answered for fourth-place Brebeuf (4-4-2).

First-place Bishop Ryan (7-0-3) and second-place St. Thomas More (5-3-2) earned first-round playoff byes.

Photos by Bob Butrym, RFB Sport Photography

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