INDIANAPOLIS – The goal that shouted volumes was a quiet little thing, a modest wrap around the near post off an eye-of-the-needle feed from behind the net.
Yeah, I don’t think anybody knew it went in besides me, Lucas Salerno said.
And then he grinned, because it was a night for that if you wore the colors of the Carroll Chargers. Salerno’s goal off Philip Callaghan’s pass at 2:03 of the third period unknotted a tie with the Columbus Icemen, and not quite 13 minutes later the Chargers were celebrating a 4-2 victory and a second straight Class 4A state hockey title Saturday evening at Fishers Ice Forum.
It was another clutch performance for a team that had lost to and tied the Icemen in two previous meetings, but which scarcely blinked when it went down 2-0 on goals 14 seconds apart in the second period. In so doing, it achieved what some people thought was virtually impossible: chilling out hyper coach Kent Hay.
At that point I was unbelievably calm, which is pretty uncharacteristic of me, Hay said when asked what the mood was like between the second and third periods. I’m normally pretty fiery. But I felt good, and again it goes back to the leadership we have.
I trusted these guys. I’ve said it about the leadership on this team all year, it’s just a great group of guys. They refuse to give up. I’ve trusted them all year, and I knew they wouldn’t let us down.
And so the Chargers – who outshot Columbus 40-18 and dominated for much of the night – responded to Columbus’ two quick goals in the second almost immediately, Marc Peters getting one back 19 seconds later and Blake Siebenaler tying it less than two minutes after that.
In the third, Salerno promptly gave Carroll the lead, and, less than four minutes later, at 6:39, Kelly Hay flipped a slow roller that eluded Columbus goalie Braden Phelps and meandered over the goal line to make it 4-2. Then the Chargers put the final flourish on the evening by efficiently snuffing a Columbus power play in the last three minutes.
They could hardly get out of their own zone, and that really helped us, Salerno said. I think if they would have scored on the power play we would have been in some trouble, but the penalty kill did a great job.