Hockey

Napleton’s Return Lifts St. Rita Hockey To Win

By: Tim O'Brien, The Beverly Review

With the St. Rita football team making a run to the state quarterfinals, senior wide receiver Frank Napleton had to put his hockey season on hold.

Although he managed to play in a couple of Chicago Catholic Hockey League (CCHL) games when his schedule permitted, Napleton’s priority was football. With the playoffs ending for St. Rita against Lake Zurich, Napleton is now all hockey—much to the delight of the Mustangs.

Scoring an early goal on Nov. 16 at Southwest Ice Arena in CCHL action, Napleton helped lead St. Rita to a 3-1 victory over Fenwick.

St. Rita Valedictorian Trevor Scianna Recently Presented with Blackhawks Scholarship

St. Rita senior goalie Trevor Scianna is planning on attending Villanova University in the fall. He’s the valedictorian of St. Rita’s Class of 2017, so admission to the prestigious Augustinian university wasn’t a problem. The cost, when you consider the travel and other expenses, though, may have been; but not anymore. Scianna recently received one of three Chicago Blackhawk Alumni Scholarships, which is worth $30,000 over his four years of college. 

Any senior hockey player, who plays for his high school team, is eligible to apply for the scholarship. It is then rewarded to three current senior hockey players in the state of Illinois based upon the student’s dedication to his school, community, and the sport of hockey. Applicants were required to submit two essays about themselves, and they were required to supply three letters of recommendation from their respective schools. Scianna’s dedication to his studies while playing two varsity sports, acting as Drumline Captain for the St. Rita Band, and taking part in several service projects, including Habitat for Humanity and the Special Olympics, made him a more-than-deserving choice for this prestigious honor.

Scianna becomes the second St. Rita Mustang hockey player to win the prestigious award following in the footsteps of 1992 St. Rita grad and all-state goalie Mike Kelly, who coincidentally attended Villanova University as well.

All honorees are honorary members of the Blackhawk Alumni Club.

St. Rita Hockey's Colan Fitzgerald Named to America's Showcase Team

St. Rita Hockey Senior Colan Fitzgerald Named to 2017 America's Showcase Team!

America’s Showcase will take place from April 20-24, 2017 at the Robert Morris Island Sports Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The AHAI High School coaching community is honored to have the opportunity to be involved with the top High School players in Illinois. They feel that America’s High School Showcase offers players a great opportunity to be exposed to Junior, College and Professional Scouts from throughout the USA and Canada and the honor to represent Illinois in the best High School Hockey event in North America. Teams from across the United States will compete and showcase their talents to scouts from every major hockey institution in the country.

Senior Trevor Scianna Wins Blackhawk Alumni Scholarship

By: John Nee '93

St. Rita senior goalie Trevor Scianna is 95% sure he will attend Villanova University in the fall. He’s one of the top students in St. Rita’s senior class, so admission to the prestigious Augustinian university wasn’t a problem. The cost, when you consider the travel and other expenses, though, may have been; but not anymore. Scianna last week was named one of three recipients of the Chicago Blackhawk Alumni Scholarship, which is worth $30,000 over his four years of college. 

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Any senior hockey player, who plays for his high school team, is eligible to apply for the scholarship. It is then rewarded to three current senior hockey players in the state of Illinois based upon the student’s dedication to his school, community, and the sport of hockey. Applicants were required to submit two essays about themselves, and they were required to supply three letters of recommendation from their respective schools. Scianna’s dedication to his studies while playing two varsity sports, acting as Drumline Captain for the St. Rita Band, and taking part in several service projects, including Habitat for Humanity and the Special Olympics, made him a more-than-deserving choice for this prestigious honor.

Scianna becomes the second St. Rita Mustang hockey player to win the prestigious award following in the footsteps of 1992 St. Rita grad and all-state goalie Mike Kelly, who coincidentally attended Villanova University as well.

All honorees will become lifetime honorary members of the Blackhawk Alumni Club. Also, on Friday, March 3, Scianna will be a guest of the Blackhawks for their game at the United Center against the New York Islanders. The scholarship recipients will get a pre-game tour of the Blackhawks dressing room, and they will spend the game in the Blackhawks suite with other dignitaries from the organization.  Then on Monday, March 6 a ceremony will take place where Scianna and the other two recipients of the scholarship will be honored.

Senior Colan Fitzgerald Named Top Defenseman in Chicago Catholic Hockey League

By: John Nee '93

St. Rita Hockey Captain Colan Fitzgerald (#14)

Senior Colan Fitzgerald had huge shoes to fill in his family after his older brothers Brendan and Ryan had stellar hockey and baseball careers at Chicago Catholic League rival Fenwick. In eighth grade, after taking the entrance exam at Benet Academy, Colan decided he wanted to set his own path at St. Rita…and he has done just that!

 

Fitzgerald was recently recognized by Chicago Catholic Hockey League coaches as the top defenseman in the Catholic League. In 19 games this season, he scored 11 goals and handed out 14 assists, averaging well over a point per game, an unbelievable accomplishment for a defenseman whose main focus is shutting down the opponents’ top line. In his career, "Fitz" has scored 26 goals with 41 helpers in 63 Catholic League games, averaging over a point per game for his career.

Colan Fitzgerald and parents Tom and Linda Fitzgerald gather for a pre-game ceremony with St. Rita Administrators and Head Coach Brian Coleman '99 on St. Rita Hockey Senior Night.

Fitzgerald is a three-time Chicago Catholic League All-Star and a two-time All-State selection.  He was also a member of the Illinois Showcase team in 2016. He is a virtual lock to make the team again this season. Despite all his individual accolades, being named team captain in his senior year might very well be his greatest honor. To wear the “C” on your jersey is the greatest honor bestowed upon any hockey player by his teammates, and Fitzgerald has worn it well leading the “Skating” Mustangs to a tremendous season that has seen them ranked as high as the top five in the entire state.

Colan Fitzgerald (#14)

Oh by the way, Fitzgerald is also a returning starter for Mike Zunica’s varsity baseball team where he manned left field last season while batting over .300 in the number two hole most of the year.

After a hard-fought Kennedy Cup semi-final series loss to Providence, Coach Brian Coleman’s '99 “Skating” Mustangs have now set their sights on a state title. St. Rita will open state playoff action on Saturday, Feb. 25 at Southwest Ice Arena in Crestwood against Carmel of Mundelein. Fitzgerald will do his usual juggling act during the state playoffs, practicing with the baseball team in the afternoon and shutting down the other teams’ top lines at night.

He and his family wouldn’t want it any other way!

Hockey Team Earns Several Post-Season Awards

by: John Nee '93

Several members of the St. Rita varsity hockey team have been recognized individually for their play on the ice during the 2016-2017 season.

The “Skating” Mustangs were led this year by senior captain and all-state defenseman Colan Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald played recently in the state all-star game, which took place at The Edge in Bensenville.

Fitzgerald also was among five Mustangs were named to the Chicago Catholic League All-Star team, others included: senior Charlie Pienta, senior Tanner Crites, senior Mike Iwaniec, and sophomore Connor McGrath. Also, Fitzgerald, Pienta, and Iwaniec were awarded a Showcase Tryout Invitation.

The Mustangs will open up state playoff action on Saturday, Feb. 25th at Southwest Ice Arena in Crestwood against Carmel of Mundelein.

McGrath the OT Hero as St. Rita Advances

St. Rita sophomore Connor McGrath has scored game-winning goals before, notching his first years ago in youth hockey.

However, none of his previous game-winners compared to the goal he scored against St. Ignatius in overtime of Game 3 in the opening round of the Kennedy Cup series.

With 5:45 left in overtime on Jan. 29 at Southwest Ice Arena, McGrath scooped up the puck behind the defense at center ice and raced toward the goal with defenders in hot pursuit...
 

St. Rita Hockey Advances to Kennedy Cup Semi-Finals

The varsity hockey team travelled to Ann Arbor, Mich., in mid-January to compete in The Big Chill Tournament. They dominated the action allowing only four goals in their four games en route to the tournament championship.

St. Rita Sophomore Connor McGrath scores the game-winning goal in overtime of game 3 of the Kennedy Cup Playoffs vs St. Ignatius.

The “Skating” Mustangs opened tournament play with a convincing 4-0 win over Carmel of Mundelein. Senior goalie Mike Iwaniec recorded his first career shutout in the victory. Coach Brian Coleman’s '99 team then squared off against Sandburg and soundly beat the Eagles 6-1. In the semi-finals, St. Rita flexed their muscles with an 11-0 whitewash of the Milwaukee Blaze. In the tournament championship game, the Mustangs would once again face-off versus the Sandburg Eagles. This time the Eagles played St. Rita tough as the Mustangs hung on by the slimmest margins with a 4-3 victory and a tournament title.

Sophomore Connor McGrath was named tournament MVP after accumulating the most points of any player in the tourney.  He was also named the Chicago Catholic League Player of the Month for December.

McGrath stayed hot heading into the Kennedy Cup Playoffs. He scored three goals in three games (including a game-one penalty shot) for the Mustangs in the first round of the playoffs, knocking off St. Ignatius two games to one. To give the "Mustang Maniacs" (St. Rita's student section) a thrill, McGrath scored the game-winner in overtime in an action-packed, "do-or-die" game three on Sunday, January 29 at Southwest Ice Arena (SIA).

Up next, the Skating Mustangs face Providence in game one of the Kennedy Cup Semi-Finals at Arctic Ice Arena on Friday, February 3 at 7:00 p.m. Game two is scheduled for Thursday, February 8 at 7:55 p.m. at SIA.

St. Rita Hockey Cruises With Conference Shutout

By: Tim O'Brien, The Beverly Review

St. Rita High School junior forward Nick Pyznarski knew his shots on net weren’t the most stylish, but there was plenty of muscle behind them.

Scoring two goals in the first period on his way to a hat trick in a Chicago Catholic Hockey League (CCHL) showdown at Southwest Ice Arena on Dec. 8, Pyznarski helped lead St. Rita to a 5-0 shutout over St. Viator.

St. Rita Goalkeeper Trevor Scianna

St. Rita Goalkeeper Trevor Scianna

“They weren’t pretty shots; but they were hard, so they trickled through,” Pyznarski said with a laugh. “I’ve been working on my shot a lot. I want to hit hard and accurately so that my shot is the best part of my game. It’s my first hat trick since freshman year, so it felt great to finally get one.”

St. Rita improved to 10-3-2 in CCHL play as teams scramble in the second half of the season for a top-eight seed in the upcoming Kennedy Cup playoffs.

#10 St. Rita's Charile Pienta

#10 St. Rita's Charile Pienta

Senior forwards Ryan Harkins and Linas Gilius scored a goal each for the Mustangs while senior goalkeeper Trevor Scianna recorded the shutout with 12 saves. Sophomore forward Connor McGrath had three assists with senior defender Colan Fitzgerald and freshman defender Dylan Oboikovitz adding two assists each...

St. Rita Hockey Players Win National Title

Usually competing as rivals throughout the year, three St. Rita High School hockey standouts joined forces with the state’s elite prep hockey players, including four from Catholic Catholic Hockey League (CCHL) rival Providence and three from CCHL foe Benet Academy, to form Team Illinois with a common goal of winning the championship of America’s Showcase in Pittsburgh.

St. Rita Hockey Players: Ryan Lieber, Tom Magnavite and Colan Fitzgerald

St. Rita Hockey Players: Ryan Lieber, Tom Magnavite and Colan Fitzgerald

Senior Ryan Lieber and juniors Tom Magnavite and Colan Fitzgerald all made an impact as Team Illinois won the five-day tournament, featuring 24 teams from across the country, in impressive fashion on April 18.

After Big Quarterfinals Win over Br. Rice, St. Rita Faces Providence on Friday in Kennedy Cup Playoffs

St. Rita and Br. Rice were tied up one game each in the Kennedy Cup Quarterfinal Series heading into Thursday night for Game Three at Oak Lawn Ice Rink. The atmosphere was frenzied, with jam-packed grandstands and almost no standing room available for late-comers.

Watch as the final seconds tick off the clock in St. Rita Hockey's victory in Game 3 of the Kennedy Cup Quarterfinals vs. Br. Rice

The Skating Mustangs didn't disappoint the St. Rita faithful fans, and broke out to a 2-0 lead by the end of the first period. St. Rita pushed it to 3-0 later in the game, but Br. Rice answered with a quick goal to make it 3-1. The final goal was scored was scored with about 7:26 left in the fourth period to seal the 4-1 win for the St. Rita Mustangs! 

The Thursday night celebration was fun--especially coming back and winning the last two games in the series; but there is no rest. Friday night the Mustangs must gear up again as they travel to Arctic Ice Arena in Orland Park to compete agains their Augustinian Rivals--the Celtics from Providence Catholic. Look for the Mustangs to keep the momentum going as they continue on in the quest for the legendary Chicago Catholic Hockey League's Kennedy Cup!

Again, next up for the St. Rita Hockey Mustangs is Providence at Arctic Ice Arena on Friday night. The puck drops at 7:00 p.m. Be there to support your Mustangs--and remember Mustang Maniacs: tonight's theme is "Jersey Night"!

A Twin Billing Of Chicago Catholic League Playoff Games Set For St. Rita vs. Br. Rice On Friday!

Game two of the Kennedy Cup Quarterfinal Series between St. Rita and Br. Rice was set for 7:55 p.m. at St. Rita's home ice rink--Southwest Ice Arena, in Crestwood. A standing-room-only crowd full of students, parents, alumni and friends packed the house; but in what many in the stands called a "First", there were no officials in attendance to run the game--prompting the game to be rescheduled.

So the stage has been set for a double-showdown between Chicago Catholic League Rivals on Friday, February 12, 2016 on the hardwood and the ice.

First, the St. Rita Running Mustangs will take the court in Catholic League Tournament competition against Br. Rice at 99th and Pulaski at 7:00 p.m. Mustangs fans will be cheering for a St. Rita victory after a setback to Rice in the regular season.

Next, at 8:00 p.m. the St. Rita Skating Mustangs will face off against Br. Rice in a rescheduled game two of the Chicago Catholic Hockey League Kennedy Cup Quarterfinal Series--and look to even the series at one game each. This game will take place at the Chicago Park District's Morgan Park Sports Center at 115th and Western Avenue, in what might very well be the first-ever, history-making Kennedy Cup playoff game in the brand-new ice arena that straddles the dividing line between St. Cajetan and St. Walter parish boundaries on the south side of Chicago.

Remember that Friday is still a crazy costume theme, so don't put away those costumes just yet Mustang Fans! Look for the Mustang Maniacs to get geared up for another showing of creative and crazy costumes at two different venues tomorrow night in support of their Rita brothers in a double-header of sorts, both on the court and on the ice Friday Night. 

GO RITA GO!!!

 
 

St. Rita Looks To Even Up Kennedy Cup Playoff Series

At Southwest Ice Arena, in Crestwood on Thursday, February 11, 2016 the St. Rita Mustangs look to even the first round of the Chicago Catholic League Kennedy Cup Playoff Series at 1-1 vs. Br. Rice. The puck drops at 7:55 p.m.

Remember Mustang Maniacs--tonight's theme is crazy costume night.  Got some "dad-wear", camo, or maybe a banana costume?...wear it and support your Skating Mustangs tonight!


By: Pat Disabato

St. Rita has been down this road before.

Trailing Brother Rice 1-0 in their best-of-three Kennedy Cup quarterfinals series.

Needing a win to force a do-or-die Game 3.

It's the exact scenario the Mustangs found themselves in last season.

"People started to panic a little bit last year when we lost the first game to Rice," St. Rita defenseman Colan Fitzgerald said. "We knew we were capable of coming back and we feel we're capable of coming back this year."

St. Rita did, indeed, rally from the Game 1 loss last season to win two straight and advance to the Kennedy Cup semifinals.

It doesn't matter to St. Rita coach Brian Coleman how St. Rita comes away with a Game 2 win at 8 p.m. Thursday at Southwest Ice Arena, just as long as the Mustangs force a Game 3.

 
 

Fitzgerald and Magnavite Named to All-State Hockey Team

As the St. Rita Skating Mustangs end the regular season and head into the Chicago Catholic League Playoffs Thursday Night against Br. Rice, they will have two All-State players on the roster.

Junior Defenseman Colan Fitzgerald (#14) and Junior Forward Tom Magnavite (#25) have both been selected to the Illinois All-State Hockey Team for their on-ice performance during the 2015-16 season.

 

Fitzgerald

Magnavite

 

At St. Rita, people talk about "balance" and being "well-rounded", while placing academics first. Fitzgerald (St. John of the Cross) and Magnavite (St. Christina) certainly are two of the best hockey players in the state, but they are also both producing superior results in the classroom.

 

 

This past semester Fitzgerald received St. Rita's Heeney Award for the fifth semester in a row. (The Heeney Award is given each semester to Ritamen who earn straight-As.) Similarly, Magnavite has once again earned honor roll status--most recently earning Silver Honors for academic achievement during the first semester of the 2015-16 academic year.

Both Fitzgerald and Magnavite will compete in the All-State Game on Monday, February 8th at the Edge Ice Arena in Bensenvillle; but first they are looking forward to starting the postseason on Thursday, February 4 at Oak Lawn Ice Arena--there they will take the ice with their Mustang teammates and compete against Br. Rice in the first game of the Chicago Catholic League Kennedy Cup Playoffs at 8:00 p.m.

St. Rita Hockey's Magnavite - A Scoring Leader

St. Rita junior Tommy Magnavite always has had a knack for generating offense.

Much of his success can be attributed to his speed.

This season, though, it's an improved shot that has allowed him to rise among the leaders for points in the Catholic League.

"All it is is practice," said Magnavite, a 5-foot-7, 145-pound forward. "Playing pickup hockey and shooting pucks in the garage. I've worked on my accuracy, shooting harder and getting the puck on the net more often. I definitely feel more confident with the puck."

Mustangs coach Brian Coleman has noticed the improvement.

Great Night For St. Rita Hockey!

 A Great Night for the Skating Mustangs

Coming off a big 8-5 win over Marist on October 30, the Mustangs of St. Rita looked to keep their momentum going on Thursday, November 5 versus a tough Mt. Carmel hockey squad. The Mustangs did just that, and earned a 6-3 victory before a packed house full of Mustang supporters at the brand-new Morgan Park Sports Complex at 115th & Western.

The Mustangs were down 1-0 at the end of the first period. The Mustangs then saw the Mt. Carmel lead increase to 2-0 before scoring their first goal in the second period.

The third period saw the most scoring action in the game. Down 2-1 starting the period, the Mustangs scored two quick goals to take the lead 3-2; but never giving up, the Caravan answered with a quick score of their own to tie it at three goals each. Eventually, the Mustangs scored again to make it 4-3. The Caravan decided to pull their goalie with about 1:00 left on the game clock. The Mustangs were able to take advantage of the open net--scoring two more goals in the final minute of play in the Catholic League game. 

Senior Mike Beam from Queen of Martyrs scored twice for the Mustangs. Senior Tom (Mags) Magnative (St. Christina), Freshman Connor McGrath (Morgan Park Academy), Senior Cody Gestes (Central Junior High) and Junior Danny Sink (St. Christina) all added one goal each.

Also, the junior varsity Skating Mustangs shutout Marist 5-0 on Thursday!

Next up for the St. Rita Hockey Mustangs is St. Ignatius at 8:00 p.m. tonight--Friday, November 6 at the Morgan Park Sports Complex.

St. Rita Hockey's "Accurate Anthony"

If St. Rita senior Anthony Faron has anything to say about how his four-year varsity hockey career concludes, it will end on a high note, not a whimper.

Hockey is a team sport but Faron, with dazzling skills and championship experience, likely will have a major part in producing the final chapter of the Mustangs' 2014-15 season.

Faron leads the Mustangs in goals (17), assists (12) and points (29) in Catholic League play. How vital is the 5-11 Faron to St. Rita's prospects?

Read more in The Chicago Tribune...