Faron fuels St. Rita into Blackhawk Cup Final

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Faron fuels St. Rita into Blackhawk Cup Final

By Gary Larsen
YourSeason.com
In his first year playing hockey for St. Rita, all senior forward Rick Faron did for the Mustangs on Saturday was post a goal that gave his side a 2-1 lead, and then an assist on a Keith Burchett goal that stood as the game-winner in a 3-2 win over New Trier.

And all that did was send St. Rita to this years Blackhawk Cup state title game.

We knew we could play with them, Faron said of top-seeded New Trier. In the past we played a little timid against them but this year we knew we could stay with them. We werent cocky about tonights game but we knew we had a chance of winning.

The key was getting shots. We had to get shots and get rebounds. This has been a blast so far. Playing in front of your friends like that is a good feeling.

Fourth-seeded St. Rita beat New Trier for the third time in four games this season at The Edge in Bensenville, with a good crowd on hand for both teams. The Mustangs led 3-2 after two periods and held off the Trevians in front of a fine performance by goalie Marty Napleton.

I knew when they got the fourth seed that this would be a difficult game, New Trier coach Bob Melton said. They should have been the second seed. As far as Im concerned, theyre going to be the state champs.

New Trier took a 1-0 first-period lead on a Bob Acri goal with assists to Dan Walcott and Andrew Koch. St. Rita tied the game in the first on Stan Sojkas goal off a feed from Matt Turner and went ahead 2-1 with only 7.9 seconds left on Farons goal, with Hunter Marcinek getting the assist.

Acri struck for his second goal in the second period on a Sam Kurgan feed but the Mustangs went up for good with just less than seven minutes remaining in the period, when Faron raced up the right side and centered to Burchett on a 2-on-1.

Burchett buried the shot to end the days scoring. St. Rita outshot New Trier 28-23 for the game, but the games final 20-plus minutes didnt play out the way Mustangs coach Craig Ferguson anticipated.

I thought we would score more goals after that and I didnt think wed be able to keep them to two goals, either, Ferguson said. But well take it. New Trier is a great, great program.

Besides Napleton, Faron played well at both ends of the ice today. Cole Nichols and (Matt) Blaszkiewicz played an awful lot of time and those kids were huge for us. But so was our third unit -- (Tom) Minnick (Hunter) Marcinek and Eric Smith were great.

The Mustangs will play for a state title at the United Center on March 23, against the winner of Saturdays other state semifinal game between St. Viator and Loyola.

Marian Hossa named Blackhawks' nominee for 2017 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy

Marian Hossa named Blackhawks' nominee for 2017 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy

The Chicago chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association has selected Marian Hossa to be the Blackhawks' nominee for the 2017 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, which recognizes perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.

The 38-year-old winger has bounced back in a huge way following a 2015-16 campaign where he had only 13 goals and 20 assists in 64 games. 

Hossa is tied for second on the team with 24 goals and ranks sixth on the club with 42 points in 66 contests this season. He ranks fourth among active players with 1,131 points, and recently surpassed Pat Verbeek to move into 35th all-time in goals scored with 523.

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Three finalists from the 30 NHL teams will be named at the end of the regular season.

Pit Martin (1969-70) and Bryan Berard (2003-04) are the only two players in Blackhawks history to win the honor.

Former Bulls center Joakim Noah suspended 20 games for violating NBA's anti-drug policy

Former Bulls center Joakim Noah suspended 20 games for violating NBA's anti-drug policy

The NBA announced Saturday that it has suspended former Bulls and current Knicks center Joakim Noah for 20 games without pay for violating the league's anti-drug policy.

He tested positive for an over-the-counter supplement called selective androgen receptor modulator LGD-4033, which is prohibited under the current collective bargaining agreement but would not have been under the new CBA starting next year, according to ESPN's Marc Spears.

It was announced in February that Noah would miss the remainder of the season with a left knee injury. His suspension will carry over into the 2017-18 campaign with only 10 games left this year.

Noah averaged 5.0 points per game and 8.8 rebounds per game in 46 games in his first of a four-year, $72 million contract with the Knicks.