from today's Waukesha Freeman -
PREP BOYS HOCKEY
Murnane protects Stars’ early lead Stars score three goals in first period
BROOKFIELD – Cooperation can accomplish great things.
The Brookfield/Catholic Memorial co-op boys hockey team provided the latest in a series of illustrations with a 4-1 Classic 8 Conference victory over Marquette at the Eble Ice Arena on Thursday.
A number of the Stars, who attend Brookfield Central, Brookfield East and Catholic Memorial High Schools, enjoy rivalries in their other sports during the fall and spring seasons.
During the winter months, though, they pool their talents on the ice.
“This spring, I’ll be playing lacrosse against some of my hockey teammates,” said Stars goalie JJ Murnane, a senior at Brookfield East. “I play for the Brookfield co-op of East and Central and they’ll be playing for Catholic Memorial.
“When we first became hockey teammates, it was a little weird. There’s always some rah-rah going back and forth. But once you’re in the trenches with guys, you don’t care anymore. You blend together and become a team.” Murnane made several spectacular saves Thursday and had a shutout until the Hilltoppers broke through for a goal with 4 minutes, 22 seconds to play. But he was just as adept at deflecting the credit as he was at scattering Marquette’s shots.
“This was one of our better games this season,” Murnane said. “Guys were putting their bodies on the line in the defensive zone. We were really playing as a team rather than individuals. We really came together.
“We’re starting to play like champions.”
Brookfield/CMH struck quickly. Brookfield Central junior forward John Rymaszewski rifled a shot from the left wing off the stick of Marquette’s goalie and into the net just 3 minutes, 29 seconds into the game. CMH sophomore forward Noah Mikelonis assisted.
The Stars extended their lead to 2-0 with 6:50 left in the first period when Brookfield Central senior forward Robby Fosdick scored from the left wing on an assist by CMH senior forward Nate Mikelonis.
Then with 5:55 still remaining in the opening period, Brookfield/CMH struck again as CMH sophomore forward Patrick McKnight delivered a goal on an assist by Brookfield Central junior forward Riley Keays.
Marquette changed goalies to start the second period and no further scoring transpired until Keays came through with a power-play goal on an assist by Rymaszewski with 12:14 to play in the second period.
The score remained 4-0 until Marquette broke up the shutout on a goal by senior forward Jackson Weiss, assisted by senior defender JJ Kispert and junior defender Alex Kuhn.
But the Stars were celebrating the victory moments later.
“It was important for us to come out with energy tonight and bottle up those guys from the start,” Brookfield/CMH coach Steve Chapin said. “I think the first period played right into what we intended to do.
“I told our guys that our goal going into the playoffs is to get on a run. We want to tighten up our defense and play with energy.”
CMH senior defender Vinnie Dombrowski said his team played with the sense of urgency it needed.
“This was definitely one of our best games,” Dombrowski said. “We knew Marquette was going to be tough. We wanted to come out and jump on them right away and we did that pretty well.
“We knew it was going to be a grind, so we were ready.”
Both Chapin and Dombrowski directed rave reviews toward Murnane.
“J.J.’s our backbone,” Chapin said. “We try to block shots. We try to keep everything out of there. We can get two or three blocks here and there and limit J.J.’s, but he’s been so solid all season.”
Rock-solid, in Dombrowski’s estimation.
“He’s a phenomenal player,” Dombrowski said. “He’s been great the whole season. We can’t thank him enough. He’s a big gamer.”
Murnane enjoyed the cushion his teammates created with their early scoring barrage, but he didn’t rest on it.
“I always view it as a 0-0 game because no matter what, if the other team gets one, you have to get right back at it,” Murnane said.
The victory lifted the Stars to 4-2-1 in the Classic 8, gave them nine points and kept them in second place, two points off the pace of University School of Milwaukee.
The Kettle Moraine/Mukwonago/ Oconomowoc co-op and Arrowhead are tied for third place with eight points apiece.
“We just want to take one game at a time, build some momentum and get ready for the playoffs,” Dombrowski said. “Then we’ll see what happens.”