Hawks Take to the Road


The St. Joseph’s Prep hockey team will be spending much of the remainder of their holiday break on the ice. The Hawks will be in Washington, D.C. this weekend to compete in the 21st annual National Capital Hockey Tournament, popularly known as the Purple Puck Tournament.

The Hawks will compete in the Prep Division of the event, which features an outstanding collection of high school and prep school teams, many from the Baltimore-Washington area and the East Coast but from elsewhere as well.

The Hawks will open play on Saturday with a 12:30 game against the Hun School from Princeton, New Jersey before seeing action twice on Sunday against Archbishop Spalding from Suburban Baltimore (9 a.m.) and St. John’s from Washington, D.C. (2:15).  The tournament semifinals and finals are scheduled for Monday.

The Hawks have been competing in the Purple Puck event for roughly a decade now. The tournament is hosted by Gonzaga Prep and the two schools have a close relationship.

St. Joseph’s Prep coach David Giacomin says the weekend-long trip allows his players to spend time together off the ice and to get to know one another as people as well as hockey players.

“We try to do something in D.C. every year that is historical,” he said. “And then after that, this year I think we’re going to go to one of those escape rooms, try to have some fun with them and everything. We go out and do team dinners and lunches.
So, it’s all about the kids being together full time for three days.

Giacomin and his coaching staff see to it that the veterans on the roster mix with the underclassmen. “It really helps the younger kids get to know the older guys a lot better,” he said.

“When we do our rooming assignments, we mix up the kids so it’s not just staying with your friends; we keep everybody separated so by the end of the year, I do believe it really helps us quite a bit. Because the kids feel more and more comfortable with their teammates. They feel like they can at least speak out, especially the younger kids.”

Senior forward Austin Amato is one of the Hawks’ assistant captains. He says the experience of the trip and playing in the Purple Puck event helps build team unity.

“It gets everyone closer,” he said, “gets everyone to play with each other more which builds the team chemistry up.”

Amato stresses the importance of the veterans interacting with their younger teammates. “You’ve got to include them in everything, on and off the ice,” he said. You’ve got to ask them to eat, talk to them, make sure they feel welcome.”

Giacomin believes those sorts of interactions offer long-term rewards.

“I think it’s really important,” he said, “because the leadership group we have, they’re class individuals. They love to engage everybody. The incoming freshmen the first few weeks it’s always a thing with them, do I stand up and say something or do I sit down and be quiet?’ With these guys here, they make sure that everybody is included.

“There is no senior group sitting together in the locker room. There is no sophomore group. Everybody is intermixed and they’re all sitting there talking and everything. So everybody has a right to speak up. Everybody has their own opinion and it’s because of those kids, that they make everybody feel included. I hope going forward those kids are going to step up into a bigger role as we move down the stretch run.”

By Rick Woelfel

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St. Joseph’s Prep 5, Cardinal O’Hara 1

HAVERFORD TOWNSHIP— St. Joseph’s Prep hasn’t spent a lot of time on the ice of late because of exams and the approach of the Christmas holidays. But the Hawks put together a solid effort Monday night in a 5-1 win over Cardinal O’Hara at the Skatium.

Austin Amato scored three goals for the Hawks who closed the pre-Christmas portion of their schedule with a 5-5 record.

“I really liked how we skated today,” said St. Joseph’s Prep coach David Giacomin. “Our three lines skated hard and that’s all I can ever ask for. The other day (in a 2-1 overtime loss to Holy Ghost Prep last Friday) we didn’t skate as hard as I would have liked to have seen then but today they dug deep and played really well.”

The Hawks dominated the opening period. They opened the scoring 6:08 into the first period when Ryan Newby launched a shot from the left point.Lion goaltender Troy Percival made the save but Joseph Samango poked in the rebound.

O’Hara (7-4) got the equalizer when Shane Truax beat Andrew Custer at the 9:18 mark. It was the Lions’ first and only shot of the period.

The Hawks regained the lead at 7:52 of the second frame when Amato finished an odd-man rush with help from Andrew Centrella and Ben Briskin and extended it when Amato stole the puck at the Hawk blue line and went remaining 130 feet by himself. Amato completed his hat trick with 4:43 left in the game. Jeffrey Hammon finished the scoring with 39 seconds remaining.

Amato, who is a senior and one of the Hawks’ assistant captains, noted that a young team is beginning to mature. “In the beginning it was rough,” he said, “getting chemistry with the young guys. But everyone’s getting better. Everyone knows each other and we’re friends now so the chemistry is building.”

The evening was about more than hockey. It was also an evening to call attention to the fight against breast cancer. Various fundraisers were held to raise funds for the Kevin Cain Memorial Foundation, which supports cancer patients and their families and several breast cancer patients were recognized including Rachel Craig, whose brother Jimmy Craig is one of the St. Joseph’s Prep captains, and Eileen Vice, the principal at Cardinal O’Hara.

Amato appreciated being part of the event.”It’s awesome he said, “representing my teammates, my teammates families. I know it’s important to guys like Jimmy. It’s bigger than us.”

Ice Chips—The Hawks defeated the Lions in last year’s Class AAA Flyers Cup quarterfinals. They’ll travel to Washington, D.C. this weekend for the Purple Puck tournament.

St. Joseph’s Prep 1 2 2—5
Cardinal O’Hara 1 0 0—1

First-period goal: Joseph Samango (SJP) from Ryan Newby, 6:08; ShaneTruax from Greg Diamond, 9:18.
Second-period goals: Austin Amato (SJP) from Centrella, and Ben Briskin, 7:52; Amato (SJP) unassisted, 13:19 (sh).
Third-period goal: Amato (SJP) from Andrew Centrella and Briskin, 11:17; Jeffrey Hammond (SJP) from Centrella, 15:21.
Shots: St. Joseph’s Prep 26, Cardinal O’Hara 18; Saves: Andrew Custer (HGP) 17, Troy Percival (COH) 21.