From left, Holy Family Catholic's Ryan Swanson, Dylan Woolf and Will Garin celebrate a Fire goal. Photo by Helen Nelson
“We’ve been giving up a lot of goals the last five or six games, and we’ve been working in our D zone a lot,” Holy Family Catholic coach Noel Rahn said. “Tonight, against a very good team like (Delano), a team that has got some firepower, I think we held them in check except for that last goal they had.”
The run-and-gun Fire unveiled a new and drastically different approach in their 3-1 win over Delano on Tuesday, Jan. 24.
Keeping the Tigers’ shots from the outside, limiting their odd-man rushes and keeping the front of the goal clear of bodies and pucks, Holy Family Catholic all but silenced a Delano offense that had been averaging close to five goals per game.
“I thought Holy Family did just an outstanding job of not giving us second chances around the net, of not giving us open ice in front of the net,” Delano coach Steve Brown said. “They did a great job, they took away ice, they took away ice in their zone, they backchecked very aggressively.
“It got to us a little bit.”
Leading the Fire’s defensive renaissance are Woolf and Swanson, who aren’t just heavy hitters and slick puck movers. They are dangerous offensively, too, as Delano discovered.
Swanson and Woolf each banked point shots in off the post against the Tigers, and each finished with a goal and two assists.
“We’ve been complementing each other well,” Swanson said. “D to D passes, just giving each other time with the puck really helps.”
Swanson ranks third on the Fire in scoring with 23 points, and Woolf is tied for fourth with 20.
“They are just really, really good hockey players,” Rahn said. “Those kids are going to be high end D guys who are going to play college hockey. They are only sophomores, they log a ton of minutes, they kill all the key penalties.
“Those two guys are something special.”