Michael J Prepelica
The Mount Carmel hockey team played its last two regular season games this Friday and Sunday against Providence Catholic and Marmion Academy. Entering the weekend, the Caravan needed at least a tie to qualify for this year’s Kennedy Cup (Catholic League) playoffs. The Caravan has not participated in the Kennedy Cup in six years.
Providence Catholic, in 1st place in the league, and ranked 4th in state with a record of 17-2-0, posed the greater challenge. Marmion held 6th place in the league with a record of 7-10-0.
The Providence game was played last Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Arctic Ice Arena. With Providence holding its senior night ceremony and having home ice advantage, the Caravan faced many challenges. It was a tight one-goal game until the third period, when Providence scored four times to put the game away.
That meant the Caravan’s playoff hopes came down to the game against Marmion Academy, played Sunday at 5:20 p.m. at Fox Valley Ice Arena. This was the Caravan’s last regular season game for 2019-20. In order to secure the 7th seed in the playoffs, the Caravan would need to win; however, even a tie would qualify for the 8th and final seed.
When Marmion scored twice in the 1st period, things did not look promising. However, junior Samnang Smith scored in the 2nd period to keep the Caravan in the game. Then, with the goalie pulled, Ethan Kortz tied the game 2-2 with five seconds left in the 3rd period.
The long drought was finally over.
The Caravan will begin the playoffs against Providence Catholic in a best of three games at 6 p.m. on Thursday, January 31, at Orbit Ice Arena in Palatine.