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Brother Rice Posts First Tourney Upset

by Staff Writer / Chicago Blackhawks

Perhaps it was the emotion of the Kennedy Cup playoffs carrying over to the state tournament, or just one of those games where the puck bounces your way. Either way, Brother Rice posted the first upset of the 2007 Blackhawk Cup tournament.

The No. 23 Crusaders, representing the Catholic League, knocked off No. 10 Barrington 4-2 on Saturday, Feb. 17 in a first round game at Barrington Ice Arena.

"The win was big for us," Rice coach Jamie Pembroke said. "It is nice to beat a top 10 team. A lot of rankings are based on last year's results, but we have had success against teams ranked higher than us."

Gehrett Sargis and Nick Gray each had a goal and two assists to pace the Crusaders, who jumped out to 2-0 lead in the second period.

Barrington made it 2-1 early in the third, but Rice quickly responded with a goal.

Late in the third, the Broncos, a Metro Central powerhouse, cut the lead to one goal for a second time, but Rice's Eric Szafranski (2 goals) iced the game moments later with an empty net score.

"Getting up 2-0 really helped," Pembroke said. "After that we just played great defense."

Rob Janozik made 28 saves to get the win for Rice, which recently advanced to the Kennedy Cup semifinals by beating South Side rival Marist two games to one in the quarterfinals.

"I think winning the final two games against Marist in the Kennedy Cup gave us a good boost," Pembroke said. "It gave some confidence. That momentum carried into the Barrington game."

The Kennedy Cup is the conference title for the Catholic League. Mount Carmel, the fifth seed in the Blackhawk Cup tournament, edged Rice 5-4 in overtime in Game 1 of the semifinals.

Since they play in different conferences, Rice's upset win over Barrington was the first time the two teams met this year.

"I think Barrington not knowing us helped," Pembroke said. "In the state tournament you play teams you usually don't play. Some people don't know that there are six real good teams in the Catholic League not just Fenwick or Mount Carmel.

"Barrington was a good team and well coached. I was real impressed. Their coaching staff does a real good job and you can see that on the ice. I just don't think they realized how good of team we are."

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