Seventh Heaven

Hockey Picture

The Chaminade Red Devils ended their season on the ice with a 4-1 victory over Marianist rival Vianney in the MidStates Winter Classic at Shaw Park on Saturday, January 23.

This victory was taken lightly as it was only an exhibition game. The actual last game of the regular season was the night before, a 4-1 game against Eureka in Fenton. Chaminade, however, would fall in this one. This meant that the Red Devils would finish a rollercoaster season with a record of 6-11-4, 16 points (2-7-3, 7 points within the MCC division).

“With all the injuries and missing players this year, the season went as good as possible,” commented junior defensemen Hunter “Bucky” Blake.

The Red Devils started off the season slowly. Quite simply, they struggled to score. They scored only 3 goals combined in the first 4 games of the season. They went 0-3-1 in that span, with losses to Lindbergh, SLUH, and Vianney, along with a 1-1 tie against DeSmet. The next game would be a season turning point.

In the fifth game of the 21-game season, the Red Devils would go on the road against MCC rival CBC, who had yet to lose a game in over two season (going 61-0-1 over the past two seasons entering this one). The Cadets would strike quickly in the game on goaltender Andrew Shapiro, scoring 3 goals within the first 5 minutes. The Red Devils found themselves down 3-1 with 40 minutes to play.

Coach Kiley Hill made the decision to pull Shapiro and put goaltender Gustav Soderkvist in net. Gustav “Stavi” Soderkvist is a junior at CCP this year. Coming from Stockholm, Sweden, Soderkvist came to Chaminade to play AAA. “I thought I could play AAA here, like the first year. I’ve been practicing with them and got a spot on [the St. Louis Jr. Blues] team.” On multiple occasions throughout the season, Soderkvist was the difference maker that kept Chaminade in a game, or gave them a win.

When asked why he came to Chaminade to play, Soderkvist commented, “Hockey is more towards the net here. First thought is shot, second is pass. Sweden is more about the passes. Fun experience playing here.”

“His goaltending was phenomenal all year,” added Blake. “He made great saves all season, and stood like a wall.”

He would enter the game against CBC down by 2 goals with almost the entire game to play; and the momentum slowly began to shift. CCP entered the third period down 5-2, and CBC tallied another just seconds in. Down 6-2 to the reigning state champions, Soderkvist and the Red Devils dug deep, scoring just a minute later. The Red Devils would get another one 3 minutes later.

Now down just 6-4, with ten minutes left, the Devils held momentum, they began to get consistent shots on CBC goaltender Jack Caruso, and were drawing penalties. With just 3:40 left in the game, Sam Johnson would get the 5th goal for Chaminade.

Though they wouldn’t score again and ultimately lost 6-5, the Red Devils proved that they were better than their previous games had shown. They had over doubled their goal totals for the season in a game against the most dominant team in the League. Chaminade’s 5 goal performance accounts for almost a third of CBC’s goals against within the MCC, and a sixth of the total GA, the most of any team.

The Red Devils were now scoring. The next two games were won in dominating fashion, with back-to-back victories over Kirkwood and Rockwood Summit by a combined score of 15-3, before a rematch against CBC on December 11.

Soderkvist would play electrically, stopping 45 of 48 shots. The Red devils struggled to figure out Caruso and the CBC defense; they would only score once on just 11 shots, losing 3-1. Sophomore forward Jimmy Pudlowski suffered a broken thumb, which scratched him for the rest of the year.

CCP would come off of the CBC game with another game against DeSmet. In a physical game, the Red Devils would tie the Spartans by a score of 2-2, followed by another 2-2 tie against Fort Zumwalt West.

For the Red Devils, the most important game of the season is for the Marianist Cup, a trophy shared between Vianney and Chaminade, with only one school bringing home the trophy each year. CCP had won the Cup in three straight years, looking for a fourth consecutive for the second time since the trophy’s origin in 2005.

Goaltender Jonathan Struckhoff got the start for the Devils. Off to a rough start, the Devils allowed a goal on the first shot of the game, just 50 seconds in. From that point forward, Chaminade would dominate in possession, limiting Vianney to only 8 shots on the game.

The Devils wouldn’t score until almost the end of the second, when they would strike twice, while also giving up one more to the Griffins. Entering the third period tied at 2, the Devils decided that this was their game. Ryan Roth, Daniel Howard, and Ben Givens would each score in the third period, giving Chaminade a 5-2 win, and bringing the Marianist Cup back to CCP.

Since scoring 5 against CBC, the Red Devils had gone on a 3-1-2 run, and were riding a season high of confidence and wave of momentum. Unfortunately, the party was about to be cut short.

In the third and final game against CBC, the Cadets would strike early and often, serving the Devils with a 9-1 loss. Immediately after, the SLUH Jr. Billikens would defeat the Red Devils 7-0. The Red Devils would get a little bit of confidence back after beating Lafayette by a score of 6-2, followed by losses to Westminster Academy and SLUH by scores of 6-2 and 5-2, respectively. The team had fallen on “rough times.”

In a very physical game against Parkway South, the Red Devils prevailed. In the 5-3 victory, the two teams would combine for 70 penalty minutes in a 45 minute game (28 for CCP, 42 for Parkway South).

The physical play would come to a breaking point with a scrum following Sam Johnson’s goal to put the Red Devils up 5-3 with 4:31 to play. Ben Jackson and Ben Herrling would each end up with 4 penalty minutes, with Hunter Blake escaping with none, despite being a catalyst in the fighting. South would exit the brawl with 20 minutes of penalties, including a misconduct and ejection to Carlo Rebello for head contact on Hunter Blake.

“There was a lot of talking all game,” said Blake. “After the goal, they began to get aggressive, and [Rebello] attacked me and it got out of hand.”

Following a 3-0 loss to the Oakville Tigers, the Red Devils played in their arguably biggest game of the season: Senior Night.

With a pregame ceremony before the last home game of the season, Chaminade Hockey President Matt Hrubes announced the names of the seniors to let them honor their parents for their sacrifice, and the fans honor the seniors for their commitment.

During the game, the seniors shined, with seniors Sam Johnson, Blake Williams, Mitchell LoCigno, and Lee Holtzman combining for 8 points (5 goals and 3 assists), in a 7-2 win, including Johnson’s game winning goal just 1:39 into the second.

With two games left in the season, the Red Devils were 6-9-3, with games against DeSmet and Eureka. Looking to break the season tie with DeSmet, Chaminade played in what might have been their best game of the season.

With Soderkvist in net for the Devils, Chaminade knew that it would be a physical, defensive game. DeSmet had the advantage in possession, but couldn’t find a way past Soderkvist, making them visibly frustrated. Soderkvist stopped all 27 shots with acrobatic saves, along with the help of two shots ringing off the posts and staying out.

“They’re just another team,” stated Soderkvist after the game. “I know how they play. They like to take the puck behind the net and pass it to the front. I like the way they play and I know how to stop them. It’s just fun to play against them.” Soderkvist played all three games against the Spartans, stopping a total of 83 of 86 (.965 SV%) over the three games.

On the other side of the puck, Chaminade had only 21 shots, but were equally futile in figuring out DeSmet goaltender William Oliver. The game ended in a 0-0 draw. On the season, neither side were able to take control of a game, with all three games between the Devils and Spartans ending in ties, by scores of 1-1, 2-2, and 0-0, in that order.

In the 21st game of the season, Chaminade would take part in the second senior night of the year, on the road against Eureka. In the 4-1 loss, the Red Devils were visibly frustrated by their lack of scoring against a goaltender that they did not think was very good. Along with their lack of scoring, the team was also annoyed by the imbalance of penalties called against Chaminade, epitomized by an interference minor against Ben Herrling following a textbook hipcheck early in the second period.

By the end of the game, the Chaminade penalty box was filled with Louis Aquino, Christopher Greene, Antonio Gallardo, John Komlos, and Ben Jackson, along with myself, who was stuck in the box trying to broadcast the game from the outlet under the scorer’s table.

Despite outshooting the Wildcats 24-18, the Red Devils failed to find the back of the net more than once in the 4-1 defeat.

After the Winter Classic on Saturday, January 23, MidStates had their annual playoff meeting the following day. After deliberation about seeding and placement within the Challenge, Wickenheiser, and Founder’s Cups tournaments, Chaminade finished in the 7th seed of the Challenge Cup, the official Missouri State Championship tournament.

“I’m pleased to be in the Challenge,” said Blake. “I hoped for better than the seventh seed, but I’m glad to be in the Challenge; we had a tough schedule.”

CCP’s 7th seed would put them in Division 1 of the Red Conference with #3 DeSmet and #11 Westminster. Each team in the Division will play the three teams in Division 2 within the Red Conference, #2 SLUH, #6 Eureka, and #10 Fort Zumwalt East.

The three games for Chaminade will occur over the course of the next week. Chaminade’s First Round schedule is as follows:

1/29: #10 FZE @ #7 CCP 9:30PM @Queeny

1/30: #7 CCP @ #6 EHS 10:30PM @Webster

2/4: #7 CCP @ #2 SLUH 9:00PM @Affton

Full schedule for the Challenge Cup tournament, as well as official box scores of every Chaminade game can be found at

All Chaminade playoff games will be broadcast on CSPN at

Photo Courtesy of David Kapatsa