Newark, Del. – After trailing 3-1 through two periods, the Interboro Buccaneers (7-4-0) pulled together to post five goals — three from sophomore winger Frank Jirak — in the third period to defeat the St. Mark’s Spartans (6-4-0) 6-4 on Friday (Jan. 4) at the Patriot Ice Center and land atop the Inter-County Scholastic Hockey League (ICSHL) Liberty South Division standings.
Jirak, who was foiled on a breakaway by Spartans goalie Billy Pierce late in the first period before accounting for the Bucs’ lone second-period goal, started to heat up 6:43 into the third frame, potting the game-tying goal on a net-front redirect of a Chris Caldwell chance. Not even a minute later, Caldwell gave Interboro a 4-3 lead, their first of the contest, stealing the puck from Spartans blueliner Joey Centrone and advancing up the right-wing boards through the neutral zone in before finishing an easy top-shelf goal.
A cross-checking minor assessed to Kyle Oreskovich opened the door for the Spartans to tie the game, and junior Kelly Stroik capitalised with a wrist shot from the right face-off dot at 10:21 after second-period goals from Joey Centrone, Owen Boyle and Nick Butler.
Despite their best efforts to mount a comeback in earnest, the Spartans were foiled again by Jirak in the closing minutes. With 2:04 to go, Jirak tapped a loose puck into the bottom corner of the St. Mark’s goal amid a congested crease area, only to walk the puck in off a takeaway for his fourth goal of the game 15 seconds later.
Hunter Chubb recorded 31 saves in victory, while Pierce saved 15 of 21 shots in defeat. Interboro was 1-for-2 with a man advantage, while the St. Mark’s power play unit was 1-for-4.
Interboro hosts Appoquinimink at IceWorks in Aston, Pa. next Friday (Jan. 11), while St. Mark’s takes on Kennett at the Patriot Ice Center, also on Friday.