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Monsignor Farrell @ Archbishop Stepinac

Posted Sunday, February 22, 2009 by SILive.com

As far as losses go, Monsignor Farrell almost suffered one of the worst one imaginable.

The Lions blew a four-goal lead to Archbishop Stepinac and came dangerously close to dropping the first game of the CHSHL A division best-of-three championship series.

But Mike Singer bailed out his team when his wrister from the right corner sailed over the shoulder of goalie Michael Lanaro to give Farrell a 6-5 overtime victory Saturday night at the Abe Stark Rink in Brooklyn.

“I wasn’t beating (Lanaro) low the whole game so I figured I’d try one high. I got it just at the right angle over his shoulder,” said Singer. “I guess I got lucky a little bit, but I had to switch it up by going over his shoulder.”

Farrell can capture its 10th championship and first since 2001-02 with a win in game two Sunday night at the Ice Hutch in Mount Vernon at 8 p.m. Game three, if necessary, is slated for Friday at 8:15 p.m. at Abe Stark.

If Saturday night’s game lasted just three minutes, the top-seeded Lions would have picked up an overwhelming knockout as the Oakwood squad scored four goals on 10 shots before the Crusaders even had a shot on goal.

James Pizzo poked in a rebound just 11 seconds into the game and RJ Flood made it 2-0 when he put home a rebound 48 seconds later.

David DeFranco deposited a perfect pass from Nick Thorgersen as the sophomore one-timed a shot from the left crease past Lanaro at the 13:19 mark before Singer closed out the run with his goal with 12:22 remaining in the initial period.

Slowly, but surely, No. 2 Stepinac inched its way back. Steven Yankowski scored twice within two minutes before Ryan Rueda deposited a rebound past goalie Ian McBride to make it 4-3 after one period.

Thorgersen gave Farrell a two-goal cushion as he pounced on Joe Gambardella’s rebound for a shorthanded goal less than three minutes into the second period.

Yankowski picked up his hat trick when he flipped a backhander past McBride at the 11:01 mark and Stepinac finally finished off its frantic comeback when Shaun Hanlon fired a one-timer from the left side to knot the game at 5 with 52 seconds remaining in the stanza.

“Up 4-0 everybody thought offense and then they forgot what defense was,” said Farrell head coach Peter Jerabeck. “I don’t know how many times we said to stay with your game plan and don’t change anything. But they’re kids and they saw four goals and thought they were going to get five, six and seven and it doesn’t work that way.”

Despite the teams scoring 10 goals in two periods, both teams came away empty in the last period although Stepinac did have the best chance for a win but a slapper rang off the crossbar with 2:53 left on the clock.

Stepinac made one of the costliest mistakes when they were whistled for a holding infraction early in the period. With the extra skater, Farrell applied some pressure until Singer tracked down the loose puck from the boards and converted his shot into the game-winner.

“This win shows that we can really come back after playing down. We can win any game, that proves,” Singer added. “To come back from (blowing) four goals and we still win, that shows we’re a team.”

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