CBC wins 12th Challenge Cup championship with win over SLUH
By: Warren Mayes
CBC returned to grab the brass ring and win the Mid-States Club Hockey Association’s Challenge Cup.
The top-seeded Cadets defeated the St. Louis University High Billikens 3-1 at the Scottrade Center. It was a rematch from the 2009 championship game when CBC topped SLUH 4-2. That was CBC’s last Challenge Cup crown.
In 2010, DeSmet defeated CBC 5-4 in overtime. Last year, Francis Howell Central dominated CBC in a 7-3 victory.
This year’s championship is CBC’s 12th title. The consistent Cadets (25-3-1) have played in the championship game for 12 consecutive years.
It was the eighth crown under coach John Jost.
“I’m am very happy,” Jost said. “It’s been a fun day. We had a pep rally and it was very good.”
Winning championships never gets old, Jost said. While they are important and memorable, this two-year dry spell makes this year’s victory all the more enjoyable.
“I think this championship is right there at the top,” Jost said. “It didn’t come easy for this team. We were young coming into the season. We didn’t really have that much experience. So to win this is so nice. I’m very happy for the kids.
“I don’t think they envisioned getting this far. We were down on ourselves a little bit this year but we worked really hard and it has paid off.”
SLUH defeated CBC twice during the regular season. The Cadets won once between the losses.
“Going into the championship game, we knew for sure we lost twice to them,” Jost said. “We knew it was going to be a tough game and it was it. We knew what we were going to be in for.
“I had expected the game to be close and hard fought. I felt about as nervous as I’ve been before the game. This team is young and they’re inexperienced. The room was a little quieter than usual before the game. We knew it would be a difficult task.”
The teams battled to a scoreless draw in the first period.
CBC took the early 1-0 lead on a power play. Glenn Ryan dropped the puck to Clark Kuster, who fired off a shot. Vince Scognomiglia deflected the puck by SLUH goalie Thomas Place for the early advantage.
“I’m still not sure if he did tip it in,” Jost said. “They first credited it to Kuster. We have spent a lot of time on the power play in the last week and a half. We’ve worked hard on that part of our game. It paid off.
Scoring that first goal was big for us. We wanted to get a jump on them. That was a real big goal right there.”
SLUH scored it’s lone goal on a power play when Trent Lullow scored in the second period.
“We had too many men on the ice and we made a mistake off the bench,” Jost said. “They scored and tied it up. We were happy to get out the second period with a 1-1 tie to be honest. It was not going our way in that period.”
Matt Sieckhaus scored with 5:31 to play to give CBC a 2-1 lead. Will Scherer passed to Ryan, who fed Sieckhaus. Perched by the net by himself, Sieckhaus easily scored.
“Will made a real nice play,” Sieckhaus said. “Will sent the puck in deep and Ryan got it behind the net. He found Matt on the left side of the crease in front the net. Ryan made a real nice diagonal pass there to Matt and he scored.
“We were all happy there. We thought whoever got the next goal would win. But we knew we had still have 5 minutes to go and SLUH was going to fight to the end. We played as good of team defense in that last five minutes as have all year. We had a tripping penalty and we had to kill that off. We played really well down the stretch. We played good team hockey.”
Dominic Polizzi scored an empty-net goal with 3.7 seconds showing for the final goal.
“He helped kill off the penalty,” Jost said. “He got the puck in the neutral zone and scored.”
CBC goaltender Joe O’Brien was solid between the pipes. Jost praised his performance.
“We wouldn’t have won this game without Joe,” Jost said. “He’s the best goalie in the league. We’re glad he’s a junior so we’ll get him back next year.”
Jost said his Cadets played well in the title game.
“We just had a great team effort,” Jost said. “It was fun to watch them go out there and compete.”
The Cadets will lose four seniors to graduation.
“We will have a good core coming back next year,” Jost said. “We had some good freshmen this year and they’ll be ready to step up. We’ll have some good freshmen coming in. We will have a talented group for next season.”