Catholic Central adds another title to its MHSAA and CHSL hockey dynasty

Novi Detroit Catholic Central goalie Matthew Chernauckas frustrates a scoring attempt by Orchard Lake St. Mary’s forwards Julian Stirparo (6) and Jack Moran (13). Chernauckas was stellar minding the net for the Shamrocks in their 7-1 victory for the CHSL Bishop Division title. (Photos courtesy of Bassel Atala)

ORCHARD LAKE — When you’re hot, you’re hot. Even on ice.

Before the puck was dropped last Saturday evening for the Catholic High School League Bishop Division championship showdown between Novi Detroit Catholic Central and St. Mary’s Prep, fans of both sides assembled in St. Mary’s home arena anticipating a hard-fought battle.

Both squads came into the game sporting 5-0 records.

To qualify for the finals, the Shamrocks defeated Toledo St. Francis de Sales, 7-2, and overcame a 4-0 first period deficit to beat Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice, 5-4, in overtime.

The Eaglets slipped past University of Detroit Jesuit, 2-1, and Warren De La Salle, 5-4.

Well, the battle was hard fought, but only one team’s fans were enjoying what was happening on the ice.

Catholic Central took a 2-0 lead in a two-minute span midway through the first period on goals by senior forward Sebastiano Lavasile and junior Tyler O’Brien.

Lavasile struck again with 9.6 seconds remaining in the first period, whirling around from just outside the left face-off circle to fire the puck into the St. Mary’s net. The stunned Eaglets trudged into their locker room down three goals instead of two.

St. Mary’s junior goaltender Will Keane was successful in blocking this shot by Catholic Central’s senior captain Jackson Walsh. However, seven other pucks by Walsh’s teammates made their way past his best efforts for the Shamrocks’ CHSL Bishop Division championship.
St. Mary’s junior goaltender Will Keane was successful in blocking this shot by Catholic Central’s senior captain Jackson Walsh. However, seven other pucks by Walsh’s teammates made their way past his best efforts for the Shamrocks’ CHSL Bishop Division championship.

Both teams fought off a pair of power play attacks in a scoreless second period.

Sixty-seven seconds into the third period, Lavasile accomplished the coveted hat trick with his third goal.

Eaglets senior Julian Stirparo spoiled CC’s shutout bid with a goal at 4:15. The Shamrocks applied the game’s finishing touches on goals by Nolan Galda, Peter Sanin and Andrew Atala.

Senior Matthew Chernauckas tended the net for the Shamrocks while bewildered junior Will Keane did his best for St. Mary’s.

Catholic Central has won nine CHSL hockey titles.

In the consolation game, De La Salle defeated St. Francis de Sales, 3-2.

Catholic Central’s hockey dynasty

With the latest victory, the Shamrocks have a 15-game winning streak dating back to the last nine games of a year ago.

Catholic Central has won the Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 1 hockey championship four years in a row.

In last year’s state tournament playoff, the Shamrocks blanked five opponents, 31-0, finishing with Brighton, 3-0, for the title. Catholic Central became the first team in the 49-year history of the MHSAA tournament to not surrender a goal. The previous record for the fewest goals allowed in the postseason was two, achieved by the 2009 Catholic Central team over six games.

Catholic Central’s record since the 2019 season is an eye-popping 108-7-1. That’s the definition of a dynasty.

Another state football champion

The CHSL can claim two state football champions this season.

Jackson Lumen Christi repeated in Division 7 in Michigan. In Ohio, Toledo Central Catholic — winner of CHSL Central Division — beat Columbus Bishop Watterson, 27-7, for Division III honors. The Fighting Irish had won Division II last year.

It was the 31st consecutive win overall for the Irish.

Toledo CC used an interception, a fumbled punt return and a botched snap on a punt attempt by the Eagles to score 21 points en route to the state title. Running back Marquan Braswell ran for 169 yards on 22 carries with two touchdowns to lead the TCC offense.

The Irish defense limited Bishop Watterson to minus-6 rushing yards.

Contact Don Horkey at [email protected].



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