NORWALK — St. Joseph goalie Kyle Burbank hit the nail on the head when he described the Cadets’ 9-3 victory over No. 3 seed Bacon Academy at Brien McMahon’s Jack Casagrande Field in Norwalk on Saturday.
“I’ll take my 6 on 6 guys (backliners) against anyone in the state,” said Burbank, after coach Brendan Talbot’s defending champion Cadets took a firm hold on their sixth overall trophy in the second half of their contest with the Bobcats. “Coach says it is harder to stay on top of the mountain than it is to climb back up. Winning back to back feels great.”
St. Joe’s cut down on turnovers, saw Burbank (7 saves) shut down the Bobcats, and Nick Macisco was lights out on faceoffs after intermission.
Jack Coughlin scored two goals for St. Joe’s, including one that broke a 3-3 tie at the 8:09 mark of the third period. That began a dominating stanza for the Cadets, who took a 5-3 lead after going 3 for 3 on draws and outshooting the Bobcats 8-5.
Cole daSilva got away from a mugging on the right side, relocated in front, and scored unassisted to take the score to 5-3 with 3:28 left in the third.
“We challenged our guys,” Talbot said. “I’m proud of our commitment. Success comes from hard work and dedication. It took 365 days, working in the summer, fall and winter, to get back here.”
Coach Brian Martin’s Bobcats out of Colchester played things even in the first half, behind the goal keeping of Kyle Denker, superb defense by Casey Hart, and two goals from Noah Mocksfield.
“I’m proud of my team,” Martin said. “We had it a 3-3 at the half. St. Joseph took control and made it difficult for us. They are a fine team. We’ll regroup. This is a special group of players.”
St. Joseph’s Declan McGinley had two goals early and one late to post a hat trick.
Ryan Daly scored on a breakaway in the final period. The sophomore had three assists.
Preston Kral scored consecutive goals in the fourth period.
The Bobcats scored first, with Mocksfield finding room on the right side and finishing off a pass from Matt Volland at 10:09.
McGinley tied things at 8:23 with Daly earning the assist.
Coughlan found the top shelf to put the Cadets up 2-1, only 55 seconds into the second frame. Daly had the assist.
The talented Mocksfield scored the 65th goal in his career to knot the game at 2-all at 8:19 of the second. His low bouncer was set up by Lucas Slomski.
Just over a minute later, Eric Burbank fed a cutting McGinley in front for a 3-2 Cadet advantage.
Bacon Academy’s Kellen Paparella, robbed earlier by Kyle Burbank, found the net at 7:09 to make it 3-3 with 3:17 left in the half. Tyler Graham had the assist.
After St. Joe’s took a two-goal lead in the third, the final frame featured turnovers, penalties and fine saves by Denker (10 saves) and Kyle Burbank.
YOU SHOULD KNOW
Since its first appearance in a Class S final in 2009, the only times St. Joseph hasn’t reached the final were 2012 and 2017. It missed qualifying for the tournament by one game both times. … In 13 years since the move to Classes L/M/S, only Darien (10; seven in Class M, three in L) and Fairfield Prep (six in L) have won more CIAC championships than the Cadets.