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Bronx natives lead Stepinac over reeling Rams

Varsity vs Fordham Prep on 1/2/2009
Posted Tuesday, January 06, 2009 by fiveborosports.com
RYE, N.Y – Archbishop Stepinac hockey coach Pat Scanlon says everyone on his team has a specific role. That’s what happens with a roster of just 12 skaters.

Rocco Miano’s job is to put the puck in the net. And he does it very well, especially when the Bronx resident faces his friends at Fordham Prep. The junior forward scored two goals and set up two others to lift the Crusaders to a 5-2 victory against the rival Rams Friday night at Playland Ice Casino.

“I know a lot of kids on that team and I always talk trash back and forth to them,” Miano said. “On the ice though, there’s no friends out there.”

Steven Yankowski netted a hat trick and had two assists as Stepinac defeated Fordham Prep for a second time in less than a month. On Dec. 12 also at Playland Ice Casino, the Crusaders cruised to a 6-0 victory. Yankowski, a two-way forward from Tuckahoe, had two goals and two assists and Miano added a goal and a pair of assists in the victory.

Michael Lanaro also has a role – to stop the puck. Although just a freshman, he’s all Stepinac has in terms of goaltending and the Bronx native has done well, especially against the Rams.

He made 27 saves Friday, none bigger than a puck off the right shoulder to rob Jonathan Renza on a 2-on-1 with 1:44 left in the second period.

“Actually I didn’t even notice that was coming because I was daydreaming,” Lanaro said. “I kind of read what the player was doing and my reaction was to stay square to the puck.”

Following Lanaro’s remarkable save, Miano rushed up the ice and beat Rams goaltender Nicholas Guberti with a high wrist shot glove side 11 seconds later and Stepinac (7-6, 4-2 CHSHL ‘A’) went into the third period with a three-goal lead.

“That’s a momentum changer,” Scanlon said. “That’s like a two-goal goal.”

Miano added his second, also on a high wrist shot between the circles at 4:13 of the third to give the Crusaders a 4-0 lead.

Facing the possibility of a second shutout against its rival from White Plains, Fordham Prep (3-8, 2-5) finally beat Lanaro with a pair of power play goals late in the third – the first on a rebound by Joe Regan and the second by Rams captain Michael Spillane with 2:58 left in the game.

“I thought we played very well in the first period and in the third period and the second period was a bit of a letdown,” Spillane said. “That’s been one thing during this losing streak, we haven’t played a full 45 minutes. That’s what we’ve got to do to win.”

Fordham Prep’s six-game losing streak started with the Dec. 12 loss to Stepinac. And according to coach Alan Pilla, there’s been one common ingredient in each of the losses.

“Not finishing our scoring chances when we have them, that’s been our problem,” Pilla said. “Sometimes in a hockey game, it’s not how many you score, but when you score them and we’re not scoring early.”

That was again the case on Friday night. The Rams dominated for the second half of the first period and had 12 of the final 14 shots on net, but couldn’t put the puck past Lanaro. Rarely did Fordham Prep forwards get to rebounds in front of the net, and when they did, the second opportunities were usually off target.

“The goaltender made good saves and we failed to convert when we had him down,” Pilla said. “We shot it over the net or we hit a leg or we just didn’t finish and that’s a problem.”

And when the Rams did get pucks on target, Lanaro, more often than not, came up with the save, playing much bigger than his 5-foot-7 frame.

“Our goalie, he shows up. He’s one of the best goalies in the league,” Miano said. “He’s awesome. He played great today and he played great the last couple of games. We just have to keep winning.”


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