By Brian Deakyne
RED BANK — The Colts can be knocked down, but they can’t be knocked out.
Christian Brothers Academy rallied to score two goals in the third period — out-shooting Red Bank Catholic, 19-1 — to tie the Caseys, 3-3, Tuesday night at Red Bank Armory.
CBA got a power play goal from forward Anthony Cusanelli and, less than two minutes later, Glen Florczak tied the game with 7:50 left.
Cusanelli finished a rebound off Dan Malfronte’s shot from the point, drawing the Colts within a goal before Florczak ripped a shot on the ground of the right wing that beat RBC goalie Chet Tooker, tying the teams at 3.
CBA would have plenty more chances over the final seven-plus minutes to win the game, but Tooker stood tall, keeping the teams tied and playing a major part, finishing with 39 saves.
“Chet was outstanding,” CBA head coach Ryan Bogan said. “We were trying to get pucks to the net and beat him there for rebounds. They had all the adrenaline in the world. The only way we were going to beat them was to out-will them for rebounds.”
The Colts had a pair of 5-on-3 opportunities over the first two periods, but didn’t come away with a goal on either chance.
“It just came down to poor execution,” Bogan said. “Hats off to Chet. I know what the scoreboard said but I can guarantee you that there were at least 15 more shots on him.”
Red Bank Catholic jumped out to an early two-goal lead in the first period, due in large part to their success on the power play. Overall the Caseys’ converted on three of their four-man advantages, their highest percentage of the season.
“We changed some of the stuff up that we were doing in practice,” RBC head coach Ken Carlson said. “The kids are executing it. Our best power play performance of the year against the best team we will play all year.”
After killing off a 5-on-3 in the opening minutes of the game, Jack Donleavy lifted a power play goal into the net with 3:46 remaining in the first period. Donleavy took a rebound off Trevor Grossman’s point shot and flipped it top-shelf, giving RBC the initial lead.
Later, the Caseys’ killed off another 5-on-3 early in the second period, and shortly after, Grossman put them up two — blasting a power play goal from the point. Steve Flego set Grossman up for a one-time shot on four straight shots, and Grossman was able to blast the fourth one into the net.
Donleavy added his second power play goal in the second period, gaining control of the puck in the neutral zone and ripping a slap shot just inside the blue line, putting Red Bank Catholic up, 3-1, with 2:40 left in the period.
Cusanelli scored a power play goal in the second period, drawing the Colts within a goal, when he scored from the right slot, taking a pass from John Amato, who was set up by Malfronte at the point.
CBA had a chance to draw within a goal in the final minute of the second period, but Tooker stoned Malfronte on a breakaway, falling to his back and stopping the puck with his stick.
The Colts out-shot the Caseys, 42-16.
“They run four good lines,” Carlson said. “We came out a little defensive, and we shouldn’t have, but they are such a strong team.”
In their first meeting on Dec. 19, CBA mercy-ruled Red Bank Catholic, downing them, 10-0, through two periods.
“I’m proud of our boys, but the fact that we ten-goal’d them last time, they should be really proud of themselves, making this a good game,” Bogan said.