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Hockey teams wins second straight state title

By Aidan Medley

For the second season in a row, the hockey team has won the Challenge Cup marking the 16th win in the program’s 53-year history and their first time repeating in 24 years.

Last Friday at Centene Ice Arena, the Spartans played Marquette, a team that tied them in all three of their matchups. However, when it mattered the most, the Spartans were up for the challenge.

“We came out right from the start, set the tone, and we had the pace we wanted to,” Head Coach Anthony Cappelletti said. “[Rivolta] five on three makes three or four big saves and Jackson Fox, the MVP of the game, scores the first goal, but blocks a shot at the end there with a minute left. Unbelievable, and that’s why he’s the number one center on our team.”

Sophomore Jackson Fox opened the scoring for the Spartans at 7:06 in the first period as he drained a one-timer after receiving a pass from Dillon Grupe.

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The goal paid dividends as they continued to capitalize on that momentum as Junior Patrick Dowling finished off a beautiful cross-ice pass from Junior Noah Stutzer to add to the Spartan lead.

After that, it was all eyes on the defense and senior goalie Alex Rivolta to secure the win, and they did just that despite a 6 on 3 in the last minute of the game to keep the sold-out crowd glued to their seats. The game concluded Rivolta’s senior season with six shutouts, a feat that his predecessor Brady Govero wasn’t able to accomplish after four seasons as a starter.“I learned a lot of leadership from him [Govero],” Rivolta said. “Last year, I was more of a quiet guy in the locker room, but this year I was a lot more of a leader.”

We pushed through all the hard times and the adversity that we battled through. We saw ourselves here and took advantage of the opportunity. There is nothing more that I want in life than to win my senior year. I’m doing everything I dreamed about.”

— Jack Croghan '24

The game was fully secured after killing off one of the penalties and with senior Theo Porter sealing the deal with an empty-netter with three seconds to spare.

“We wouldn’t have been able to do this without all the seniors,” Fox said. “We’ve been working our butts off all year. We deserve it.”

The game was especially meaningful for the five seniors who played in their last game with the “Yellow Buckets”.

“Talking with Jack Croghan before the game about everything that has happened the past four years,” Porter said. “Sophomore year, being upset and how close we came. I remember eighth-grade year as an incoming freshman at Enterprise watching us lose, and I felt that and carried it into my high school career. We showed the whole city that we were supposed to be and supposed to win.”

Captain Jack Croghan knows that the game couldn’t have been scripted any better for the team that he has led this season.

“We pushed through all the hard times and the adversity that we battled through,” Croghan said. “We saw ourselves here and took advantage of the opportunity. There is nothing more that I want in life than to win my senior year. I’m doing everything I dreamed about.”

While it was the last hurrah for the seniors, this was the first time since 1982 that a championship team has gone back-to-back with two different coaches. Former Head Coach Casey Ott led the team last year only to resign after the season. Current Head Coach Anthony Cappelletti took over the role having never won a Challenge Cup. Now, he permanently has his name inked in De Smet’s Hockey history.

“This is an unbelievable feeling and better than I thought it would feel,” Head Coach Anthony Cappelletti said. “Coming into this game right now. I was very confident that we were going to win because of the depth of this team and the mentality this team had.”






This story was originally published on The Mirror on March 5, 2024.