BENSENVILLE – The CCM Tigers’ frustration was pretty much capsulated by goalie Ryan Maloney after the final seconds of their season had ticked away.
Maloney skated from the bench to the goal, whacked it with his two sticks, then flipped his water bottle toward the blue line.
CCM outshot Chicago Latin School and produced more good chances, but the Romans managed the game’s lone goal for a 1-0 victory Sunday night at The Edge in their AHAI Blackhawk Cup Combined State Tournament game.
Adding to the hurt was the fact the Tigers (19-8-3) had defeated Latin in the teams’ three previous meetings.
“We weren’t ready to play,” CCM coach John Lenzi said. “We beat them three times, so maybe there was a little overconfidence on our part. Sometimes the puck bounces your way and sometimes it doesn’t. You hate to go out like that.”
CCM lauded Latin goalie Antonio Sciarrotta, who preserved the win with 33 saves. The Romans (23-21-2) meet Buffalo Grove-Hersey-Wheeling at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday in a quarterfinal game. CCM draws players from Crystal Lake Central, Dundee-Crown, McHenry and Johnsburg.
“I thought we could have won that,” Tigers goalie Ryan Maloney said. “We had a lot of open passes, but we just couldn’t finish.”
Latin got the game’s only goal in the second period when defenseman Thomas Hennelly fired a shot from the left point. Center Michael Sockol redirected the puck in front of the net for the goal. Maloney said he had a line on Hennelly’s shot all the way until it was tipped.
Right wing Anthony Casaletto and left wing Dakota Slone helped generate scoring opportunities for the Tigers, but they were thwarted by Sciarrotta.
“We had a lot of chances, we just couldn’t put it in the net,” Slone said. “I don’t think we passed as much as we normally do, we tried to stickhandle too much instead of using teamwork.”
The Tigers pulled Maloney with 1:08 remaining for six attackers, but defenseman Tyler Jones and Trevor Banas both were called for hooking in the last 48 seconds. Still, Slone nearly had a shot to tie the score with 23 seconds remaining when he broke in on the right side.
Slone, a left-handed shooter, flipped a backhand shot at Sciarrotta, who stopped the puck.
“It was close,” Slone said. “It was hard because I had someone on my left and I couldn’t cut back in [to the middle].”
CCM had only 12 skaters, while Latin had 11, so both teams battled fatigue.
“Antonio stood on his head; he gave us a chance when the pressure was on, to get whistles and delays in the game,” Romans coach Blake Sorensen said.
“Two kids on CCM, [Slone] and [Casaletto], are pretty much their entire team, and I warned the kids to know when they were on the ice to be alert. We took care of that. There was so much more passion in knowing [our players] didn’t want to end their season.”