Crusaders Dethrone Rival Don Bosco for First County Title
As is often the case in sports, overcoming early adversity often paves the way for ultimate success. If the 1980 US Olympic team does not tie Sweden with a last minute goal in its very first game, they likely would not have qualified to play in the gold medal game. In the Bergen County Tournament quarterfinal, despite missing a number of starters, it appeared that the Crusaders would cruise to victory as they had a 3-0 lead over #7 seed Ridgewood midway through the contest. However, penalties combined with a little tough luck opened the door for Ridgewood to mount a comeback. Ridgewood tied the game with a power play goal in the third period and the game headed into overtime where the Crusaders narrowly averted disaster in the opening minutes. After a Ridgewood player passed the puck from the corner of the Crusaders' defensive zone, the puck hit a Crusaders player and redirected toward the net. However, Crusaders goaltender Brendan McCaskey was able to make the save and to the disappointment of the Ridgewood players and faithful who were already celebrating what they thought to be an upset victory, play continued. Moments later Crusaders defenseman Brenden Kelly hit teammate Devon Kelly, who snuck behind the Ridgewood defense in the neutral zone, on a beautiful tape-to-tape pass to spring Devon for a breakaway. Devon was not going to be denied. He fired a shot past Ridgewood's goaltender for the overtime victory and we all know the cliché ... the rest is history. Six days later, the Crusaders would be Bergen County Champions.
Along the way, the Crusaders would go on to beat a gritty St. Joseph's Montvale squad 3-2 in the Semifinals with goals from Nick Wallace, Nick Stoebling and Devon Kelly, and by now everyone knows what happened in the Championship game against rival Don Bosco. The Crusaders won each of their three tournament games by one goal ... a tournament first, beat Don Bosco in the Championship game ... another tournament first, and never trailed in any game. Sophomore Antonio Arcaroli, who scored the go-ahead goal in the third period against Don Bosco, was named Tournament MVP.
The Crusaders will be back to work next week as they finish the regular season with Gordon Conference League games against Pope John, St. Peter's, Gloucester Catholic and CBA followed by the Gordon and State Tournaments.
But for now, well-deserved celebration is in order as the 2020 Bergen County Championship Banner will forever hang in Oradell.
CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR CRUSADERS ON THEIR FIRST BERGEN COUNTY CHAMPIONSHIP!!!