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St. Joe’s Claims Fourth Straight Title in Rout of Canisius

“Put up fours! It’s a four-peat,” a St. Joe’s player exclaimed as the team and coaching staff gathered in front of the scoreboard at Canisius College’s Demske Sports Complex on Wednesday evening.

St. Joe’s scored six unanswered goals in the first half before netting the final eight tallies, paving their way to a 16-2 rout of Canisius, earning the Marauders’ fourth consecutive Monsignor Martin lacrosse title.

An all-around team effort Wednesday punched St. Joe’s ticket for a trip downstate to Long Island where they will play a to-be-determined opponent next week. The Marauders defense held Canisius in check all game long, keeping the Crusaders scoreless for the entire 24-minute second half. Canisius went without a goal for the final 28 minutes and 15 seconds.

“That was team defense right there,” Kellen Pulera, the Marauders’ all-time leading scorer and a member of all four Monsignor Martin title teams said. “Our defense has been unbelievable all year. Coming out on offense, we were able to possess the ball and really suck the life out of them.”

With only allowing two goals on Wednesday, St. Joe’s has now allowed 154 total goals this year in 20 games, an average of 7.7 per game. In comparison, they have scored an average of 14 goals per game, leading to an average margin of victory of 6.3 this season.

The Marauders’ victory marked their 11th straight win over Canisius and their 19th in the last 20 meetings against their archrival. It is also the 38th straight victory over a Western New York team – a streak that dates back to early May of 2016.

Offensively, Pulera (three goals, two assists) was one of three Marauders with a five-point night. Trey Gehen (five goals) and Evan

Mulderig (three goals, two assists) were the others.

Gehen, a junior who transferred from Frontier, scored a natural hat trick in the first quarter over a span of one minute, 64 seconds helping to give the Marauders a 5-1 lead late in the first quarter. He added his other two tallies in the second and third quarters.

“I just like showing out with my boys from Joe’s,” Gehen said about making an impact like he did on Wednesday. “I came to this school, I’m a new kid, I love playing with them every day.”

Although he hasn’t been a part of all four consecutive championships at St. Joe’s, being a member on one means a lot to Gehen.

“They’re known for winning,” Gehen said. “We’ve won for the past four years in a row and to be on the fourth team for all these seniors this year, to give them fourth win, is a huge deal for me.”

Winning four straight titles is quite an accomplishment and St. Joe’s head coach Peter Hudecki who has the utmost confidence is his players.

“The guys that started this are the guys that are going to finish it,” Hudecki stated. “With the four years of experience of being there, these guys really want it. I think we’re going to have a really good opportunity to put ourselves in a good situation this year.”

One aspect of the game that Hudecki said his team has vastly improved in is at faceoffs. Austin Holley, a junior who transferred from Hilton, a Rochester public school, won 20 of the 23 faceoffs taken – an 87.0 win percentage – on Wednesday.

“A key addition was Austin on the faceoff,” he said. “Tonight, he did incredible. We had multiple looks for him, he saw them all, saw the open guy and moved it on. I think we have a better shot this year with the maturity, the experience, the addition of Austin, and we have depth this year.”

The NYSCHAA championship game has not been kind to St. Joe’s recently, losing the last three times they have made it. They lost to Chaminade last year, 19-5, to Kellenberg Memorial in 2017, 12-5, and to Fordham Prep in 2016, 11-4.

“The past three years were not in our favor down on Long Island,” Pulera, who was named Monsignor Martin’s Most Valuable Player following the game, said. “A lot of the kids were on the teams for those and know exactly what’s coming for them. We’ve been preparing since the first day of tryouts for this state game and that’s what it’s come down to now and we’re not looking back. We got this. We’re going for them.”

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