By Tommy Witt ‘24

The 2023-24 hockey season came to an end on Monday, Feb. 19, after a 5-2 loss vs the 1st seed St. Ignatius in the Kennedy Cup Semifinals.

The Crusaders had a successful season, finishing the regular season 11-10 and the fifth overall seed in the CCHL. During the year, the Crusaders swept three meetings vs Mount Carmel, St. Rita, and Marmion Academy. However, they struggled against the top of the league, losing all three to St. Ignatius and Fenwick.

The Crusaders matched up against the Providence Catholic Celtics in the first round of the Kennedy Cup playoffs, a team they had played tight in the regular season.

Sophomore Jonathan Esposito said, “We liked our matchup vs. Providence. We felt that we competed with them all year, and beating them a week prior gave us confidence.”

After losing game 1 by a score of 5-4, the Crusaders responded by winning Game 2 by a score of 2-1. The series came down to a win or go home Game 3 on the road. The Crusaders came back from down 3-2 in the third period to win 5-3 and advance to the semifinals.

Junior goaltender Deven Stillo said, “That win was huge for our team to make it back to the semifinals for back to back years.”

The Crusaders knew they were up for a tough task given the Wolfpack had only lost three games all year. The Crusaders did not get off to the start they wanted to in Game 1, surrendering two goals in the first minute, and never found their groove losing 6-1.

The season came down to a win or going home Game 2 at home. After shocking Ignatius by going up 2-0, the Wolfpack responded by taking the lead early in the third. The Crusaders fought to the very end, but the Wolfpack was too much, winning by a score of 5-2. The Crusaders season ended in the semifinals for the second consecutive year.

The locker room was silent after the defeat, acknowledging the seniors had played their last game in a Brother Rice jersey.

Senior Jake Surma said, “It was sad the way it ended, but it was an awesome run and an unforgettable experience. I want to thank all the coaches and parents that helped me throughout my career.”

The senior class of Jack Keaty, Jake Surma, and Chris Surma and me left the Brother Rice jersey better than we found having an outstanding four years.