Brother Rice forward Andrew Marone and Birmingham Unified’s Chase Ben-Ezra fight for the puck in the Warriors’ 8-0 victory in a Division 2 regional semi-final on Friday, February 24, 2023 at Oak Park Ice Sand. (TIMOTHY ARRICK—For MediaNews Group)
OAK PARK — Andrew Marone scored four goals, Peter Rosa became the Rice brother’s all-time leading scorer and the host Warriors cruised to an 8-0 victory over the Birmingham Unified Kings in a Division 2 regional semi-final on Friday night.
The Kings stayed around halfway through the game. The shots on goal were close in the first period, but the Rice brother still held a 2-0 lead with great individual plays from Marone and Rosa, whose goal with 7:27 remaining in the first period broke a tie with Mackenzie MacEachern in the top of the Warriors. list of all-time goalscorers.
It was Ryan Tyranski’s goal that finally opened the game for the Warriors midway through the second period. Tyranski found a loose puck up front and pushed it to the open side to make it 3-0 Brother Rice with 8:19 remaining in the half. Rice added two more quick goals after that to open things up wide.
“I don’t think we played that bad the first two quarters, but they have good forwards on the other side, and then they played very well,” Kings coach Zack Warson said. “That looked like a state championship team on the ice, to me, tonight, so all credit to Brother Rice.”
Marone and Rosa led offensively. Marone scored four goals and Rosa had one goal and two assists as the Warriors’ top line was too much to handle.
Rosa’s 66th career goal pushed him past current NHL player Mackenzie MacEachern, who held Rice’s scoring record since 2012.
“I’ve said it all the time in training is that it’s better to have the best player on the ice, every time, and it turns out that we usually have the two best players on the ice. So it’s definitely a big advantage for us,” Warriors head coach Kenny Chaput said.
But as good as the offense was, the defense was also outstanding for the Warriors. Brother Rice limited the Kings to just 16 shots on goal, only two or three of which were dangerous, as the Warriors simply stifled any serious chance for the Kings before Birmingham Unified could get a shot.
“We had a lot of difficulties at the beginning of the year and even in the middle of the year by giving up too many opportunities,” Chaput said. “We have placed a great emphasis on closing it. Our goal was five per period, and I think we did that today. But it is the quantity, but even more so, it is the quality that we have given up. We’ve been better as we’ve gone here to achieve that goal.”
Birmingham Unified vs. Birmingham Brother Rice in a regional D2 hockey semi-final
The Warriors (17-9) advance to the regional final on Wednesday, where they will face LVC Champ Lakeland for a spot in the quarterfinals.
Birmingham Unified finish the season 15-10 despite having a very young and inexperienced squad.
“I am proud of our group. It’s been a great group of kids and a great group of senior leaders. It hurts right now, but it’s just another step in the process for us. We have some young guys that will hopefully be ready for us and we’ll be back,” Warson said. “We had a tough schedule, and graduating 19 last year, that’s tough for any program. And for us to have a good winning year and some quality wins, we’ll take the positives out of that and we’re excited for the future.”