St. John’s Jesuit goalie Mike Barrett stonewalls Northview’s Zack Galecki. Barrett finished with 25 saves.
St. John's Jesuit jumped all over Northview on Friday night and withstood a Wildcat rally to prevail in an early-season Northwest Hockey Conference showdown.
The Titans scored the game’s first five goals and dropped the Wildcats 7-3 at Tam-O-Shanter.
Northview responded with three unanswered power play goals in the second period. But St. John’s added two more goals in the third period to put it away.
The Titans finished with a 33-28 edge in shots.
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St. John's scored an even strength goal, a power play goal, and shorthanded in the first period to open up a 3-0 lead.
“We really wanted to get off to a quick start because we are a much better team when we score early,” St. John’s coach Mike Hayes said. “That spiraled emotionally for them a bit. We stuck with it and took advantage.”
St. John’s senior defenseman Dominic Horvath had five points.
Junior forward Ian Rapp had a hat trick for the Titans as he scored in each period. Rapp scored shorthanded, added a power play goal, and finished it with an even strength marker.
Horvath scored two power play goals and had three assists.
“We came out really well as a team,” Horvath said. “We started shooting the puck and created some really good chances. And that helped us throughout the game.”
Junior Brendon Schultz and senior Jason Wietecki also scored for St. John’s.
Northview junior center Josh Koback had a goal and an assist. Senior Cody Estrel and junior Zach Galecki also scored for the Wildcats.
St. John’s (4-1-2) moved to 1-0-1 in the NHC Red Division. Northview (4-3-0) fell to 1-2-0 in league play.
“We ran into a buzz saw,” Northview coach Mike Jones said. “That wasn’t in our game plan. We looked at this as a measuring stick and we found out.”
St. John’s senior goalie Mike Barrett finished with 25 saves.
The Titans scored on their third shot of the game as Wietecki collected his own rebound 3 minutes, 8 seconds into the game. Thomas Williams assisted.
It was a physical contest early on with both teams dishing out big hits. Horvath got his night rolling with a power play goal. The defenseman scored unassisted on a shot from the point for a 2-0 Titan lead with 6:34 left in the opening period.
St. John’s added a shorthanded goal as Rapp made a great move and scored on the backhand. Horvath set up the solo breakaway that made it 3-0 with 44 seconds left in the period.
Hayes said Horvath showed poise on the power play and took the opportunities when they came.
“He got rewarded for it,” Hayes said.
The tilt turned chippy early in the second and Rapp cashed in when the Titans were on a 5-on-3 advantage. Rapp scored on a big rebound.
Just eight seconds later, Horvath scored on a wrister as St. John’s tallied goals on back-to-back shots for a 5-0 cushion with 10:29 left in the second period as goalie Preston Due (13 saves) replaced David Marsh (13 saves) in the Northview goal.
The Wildcats rallied with three power play goals in a span of 4:39. Koback got it started, and 27 seconds later Estrel added another to make it 5-2. Galecki scored on backhander with 1:11 left in the second period.
“They didn’t lay down and they could have,” Jones said. “We fought our way back.”
Hayes said he could not have asked anything more from his team during the first 20 minutes.
“But I think we felt a little too good about ourselves and got a little careless,” he said. “We lost some momentum. They took full advantage.”
St. John's Jesuit’s Ian Rapp flips the puck past Northview’s David Marsh en route to a hat trick for the Titans.
However, 12 seconds into the third period Rapp scored a highlight reel goal. He deked around a defender and went to the backhand to give the Titans a 6-3 lead.
“He’s like that every game, he just doesn’t always get rewarded,” Hayes said.
“He was due all those goals. He had a heck of a game.”
Schultz capped it by scoring on a rebound on assists from Nate Miller and Nick Baumgartner with 3:56 remaining.
St. John’s scored three power play goals as the Wildcats were whistled for nine penalties.
“Our mental preparation was not good enough and that falls on me,” Jones said. “There should be emotion. But you need to compartmentalize.”
Northview reached the state title game for the second straight season last March.
“We’ll get better,” Jones said. “We're early on our journey.”
The Titans are pegged as the preseason favorites to repeat as Red Division champs.
“That doesn’t win us anything,” Hayes said.
“We still have to go out on the ice and earn it. With 14 seniors they realize no one is going to hand it to us. We’re willing to prove it.”
Contact Mark Monroe at: email@example.com, 419-724-6354, or on Twitter @MonroeBlade.