Thunder roll to SOSSA championship
The Blessed Trinity Thunder captured the Southern Ontario Secondary Schools Association (SOSSA) AAA boys hockey championship with a pair of victories Tuesday in Grimsby.
The Thunder topped the Greater Fort Erie Secondary School Gryphons 6-2 in the semifinals and followed that up with a 4-1 win over the Ancaster High School Royals in the final.
The Thunder now advance to the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations (OFSAA) championships in Windsor.
“When we picked the team for this year, we knew our guys were good, but we didn’t know how good,” BT coach Mark Mazetti said.
The Thunder put together an undefeated regular season with six wins and a tie before topping St. Mike’s in the Niagara Catholic Athletic Association final.
“Throughout the year, they’ve come together through tournaments and games. They just kept getting better as the season has gone on,” said Mazetti, who is assisted by Steve Aymar and Jake Vandenbosch.
When time ran out in the final, the Thunder streamed over their bench to celebrate before taking the traditional championship picture at centre ice with their SOSSA medals.
After a quick meeting with the coaching staff, the music was cranked up and the party began.
“You can hear it in the room,” Mazetti said. “They are crazy-excited. We haven’t had a group in OFSAA in like 20 years. We were undefeated in the season and were pretty dominant here today.
“The boys have been exceptional.”
Thunder captain Anthony Rodriguez was all smiles when asked about the championship.
“It’s really exciting,” the 17-year-old, Grade 12 student said. “Going with all my friends to Windsor and to have a moment like this, it’s great.
“We knew we had a really good squad coming in and we bought in as a whole and bonded really well.”
Rodriguez, who plays for the Niagara North Stars U18 squad, has been the Thunder’s go-to player on offence all season.
“Whenever we need a goal, he’s the guy to step up,” Aymar said. “Whenever the game was on the line, we wanted the puck on A-Rod’s stick.”
Thunder Assistant captain Joey Marrese, who also plays for the North Stars, can’t wait to get to Windsor.
“It’s so exciting,” he said. “It’s a chance you don’t get very often, a chance to be with all your buddies from school and get to compete at the highest level in high school.
“It’s so much fun.”
After dominating the Gryphons in the semifinal, the Thunder reset and came up with another strong effort to top the Royals.
“We lost to the them 2-1 at the beginning of the year and we knew they were good so we had to bring our A game and the boys sure did,” Mazetti said.
Marrese admitted it was difficult to play two pressure-packed games within a few hours of each other.
“To play two big-time games, it’s hard to come up,” he said. “You have to battle adversity and pick it up. We came out flying in this game. Everyone was buzzing. It was a good feeling.”
The OFSAA championships will be held March 21-23.
“We’re happy to be there. Whatever the boys do, they do. We’re just excited for them. We’re living vicariously thought them. We’re having a great time,” Mazetti said.
Kian O’Brien, Joshua Fabina, Tyler Devic and Jaxson Christie scored in the win over Ancaster.
In the semifinals, A Sartor had four goals while Fabina, N. Lestner and R. Brown added singles.
Tate Donald and Landen Lamb-Ward replied for GFESS.
Ancaster topped the West Niagara Wolfpack 5-1 in the other semifinal.
Josh Farraway netted the lone goal for West Niagara.
Dear reader. If you liked this story or one of the 4,900 other stories found on our website, please consider hitting the Support Us button on the right-hand side of our home page and making a PayPal contribution to our website. Your support would be much appreciated. If you are a business owner, please consider advertising on our site. Our rates are reasonable and we provide plenty of exposure for your business. Contact email@example.com for more information.