By Larry Moko
Expect a goaltending duel every time the St. Thomas More Knights play the Bishop Ryan Celtics in girls’ hockey this season.
That’s because the two opposing high school netminders are teammates with the Burlington Barracudas U18AA club team.
“We’re goalie partners for the Barracudas,” Knights goalie Angelina Berardi said in regard to BR’s Kylee Boehmer.
According to Berardi, they share playing duties in the OWHL, so there isn’t a No. 1 or No. 2.
When the two schools faced off at Valley Park Arena on Tuesday, More defeated the Celtics, 5-2, to move into a first-place tie with BR in the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic league standings.
“We’re competitive, but we keep it friendly,” Berardi, downplaying any personal rivalry between the two puckstoppers.
The Knights never trailed. They led 1-0 at the end of the first period and held a 3-1 advantage heading into the third.
Aly Pescetti tapped in a rebound to narrow the gap to one goal early in the final frame before More added insurance markers by Angelica Morcone and Tarryn Bianco.
Earlier More goals were shared by Sadie D’Angela, Kionna McCrory and Kennedy Sundvall.
Celina Kubisch accounted for the other Celtics goal.
“I thought our team played fantastic,” Berardi said. “We were passing great and looking for options everywhere.”
It was the fifth consecutive win for the Knights after they began the season with back-to-back losses.
“Today’s game was a fight for first place,” Celtics coach Paul Altobelli said. “The last little while we were able to put it together and take over first. Now we’re tied.
“I thought we were a little flat. They looked hungrier than we did. At the end of the day, it’s going to come down to who wants it more.”
Knights coach Trevor Young was impressed with the hustle of his team.
“We played excellent,” he said. “We have a top-notch goalie and the Bishop Ryan goalie is also very strong. The last time we played her it was tough to score (3-0 for the Celtics).”
Berardi was particularly effective at saving low shots by quickly thrusting out a leg pad along the ice instead of using her stick.
“Since I was young I’ve been getting compliments on that,” she said.
Another key reason for More’s success has been the play of defenceman D’Angela. Said Young: “Sadie is have a great season. She is our leading scorer. She’s not a natural defenceman but that’s where she’s playing to help the team out.”
In the boys’ half of the doubleheader, the Celtics won, 2-1, to break a tie and move into sole possession of first place.