St. Anthony's High School #4 Tyler Hall carries through the...

St. Anthony's High School #4 Tyler Hall carries through the neutral zone in the third period of a varsity ice hockey game vs. St. Mary's at Cantiague Park. (Dec. 1, 2011) Credit: James Escher

It was both a heartbreaking and fantastic season for St. Anthony's.

On the ice, the Friars breezed through the CHSHL regular season and playoffs and beat Athol Springs St. Francis, 4-3, for the state CHSAA crown.

And yet, the Friars suffered a huge loss when general manager Marie Drisco, 61, passed away on Dec. 20. Drisco had served as the team's general manager for 19 seasons.

The Friars honored Drisco with "Mrs. D" stickers on their helmets.

"Ever since she passed away we dedicated our season to her," center Chris Wallace said. "In past seasons we came up short and we finally got it. This one was for her."

Wallace, who scored a hat trick in the championship game, said that Drisco was in the team's hearts and helped propel the Friars to the top after losing the previous two years' state title game.

Coach Jeff Stelmok added that he believed the Friars "had some help from upstairs" in the state final.

In the title game, the score was tied at 3 in the final seconds when forward Mike Marnell forced the puck up the ice and found Wallace in front of the net for the winner with one second left in regulation. It was Marnell's third assist.

"It was an unbelievable finish," Wallace said. "It's incredible, I can't even explain it."

The win capped a 21-0 season and made the Friars the first metropolitan-area team to win the state CHSAA title. "Did we want to avenge losses from the last two years, absolutely. Did we want to be the first team to win from down here, yes. But a state championship is a state championship and that's period." Stelmok said.

"Obviously this is one of the most eventful seasons we've ever had, but the irony is we walked away with perfection and were able honor [Drisco's] memory with that. She would have wanted this more than anybody."


Unlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months