The Chaminade-St. Anthony's rivalry has been so intense and so competitive for so many years that the last thing you would expect in a championship game between those teams is a blowout. So much for that thought.
"You dream about it, that maybe it will happen, but in reality you figure it'll be a one-goal game," Chaminade's Jack Tigh said last night after the Flyers scored eight second-quarter goals and rolled to a 15-7 win that produced their third consecutive NSCHSAA Class AAA title.
Tigh scored three goals with three assists, John Brennan scored three goals with an assist and Brendon Luu won 21 of 26 faceoffs for Chaminade, which finished 13-4.
"My teammates said if you win the first faceoff, we'll win the game," said Luu, a junior who began the season recuperating from a PCL tear in his right knee.
Luu did just that and Tigh scored from the right wing to start the avalanche of goals that shocked the Friars (12-4), who had won the last meeting on May 7, 9-8. Chaminade had won the first meeting on April 15, 11-10. That's what made the margin of victory in this one so surprising.
Luu won the faceoff after Tigh's goal and 57 seconds later, Tim Mangan scored unassisted and a pattern was set: Luu gives the Flyers the ball; the Flyers put it in the net.
"More possessions means more opportunities for the offense and more rest for the defense," Luu said.
Chaminade's defense got plenty of rest during a game-changing two-minute stretch early in the second quarter. The Friars were whistled for a check to the head that drew a two-minute, non-releasable penalty. That meant the Flyers would have 120 seconds of a man advantage no matter how many goals they scored.
They took full advantage. Brennan scored twice on feeds from Tigh and assisted on a goal by Liam Connors during that man-up sequence for a 6-1 lead. Fifty-two seconds after the penalty was served, Connors scored again on a feed from Brogan Mahon (two goals) and the rout was on. Chaminade led 10-3 at halftime, with Luu winning 13 of 14 draws.
"Anytime you get an opportunity like that, you have to capitalize," Brennan said of the three extra-man goals in 1:07. "It was a physical game and a physical play. Fortunately we got the call. That run was big."
So was Luu's work in the faceoff circle. "Luu was amazing. We had a lot of extra possessions and won a lot of ground balls," Brennan said. "We just got rolling, looking for each other. There's no better feeling than that."
It was even better than Tigh's daydream that came true. "After those three man-up goals, we knew we pretty much had it," Tigh said. "I looked up at the scoreboard and thought, 'Wow, we're really clicking.' "