Varsity Hockey - 2024 NYC Champions

Lions Capture  CHSHL AA Title

We are the Champions

The varsity hockey team captured the Catholic High School Hockey League AA Championship with a dramatic 4-3 come-from-behind victory over the Xavier (Manhattan) Knights.  The Lions trailed 2-1 at the start of the third period in the deciding game of the championship series in the CHSHL's top division.  The two evenly matched teams tied each other in all three regular-season games, and were tied one game apiece heading into Game 3.

"It was an electrifying finale to the season," said Lou Tobacco '90, President of Monsignor Farrell High School.  "Congratulations and thank you to head coach Steve DeFranco and his staff on an amazing season and for all their hard work and dedication, and special thanks to our seniors for leading the way and bringing the team to a championship."
The Farrell faithful – students, faculty, staff, parents, and alumni – packed the Staten Island Skating Pavilion to cheer on the Lions in their quest for the first St. Patrick Memorial Trophy since 2008 - 2009. "It was such a great game it was worth parking two miles down Arthur Kill Road for!" exclaimed John Mayrose '98, one of the many alumni in attendance to support the Lions.  "Way to go brothers!" he added.

NY State Runners-Up

The Lions finished second in NY State, falling just shy of capturing the school's first NYS title.  The NYC Champions traveled to Buffalo, NY to compete for the New York State Catholic Championship on Saturday, March 2nd at the LECOM Harborcenter in Buffalo, NY against St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute (Buffalo).  

Despite being outshot 51-15 in the game and in no small part to the outstanding play of goaltender Matteo Beach '25, who was named the game's MVP,  the Lions never quit and took the Marauders into overtime.

St. Joe's eventually ended the Lions' first state championship hopes with the game-winning goal at 2:41 of overtime.  “Very tough loss,” said head coach Steve DeFranco, "but just like the whole season, the boys never stopped grinding it out,” he added.

The Lions finished the season 10-4-4 in the CHSHL's top "AA" division, including the school's first Catholic city championship since the 2008-09 season.

Click here to watch the replay of the state championship game.


Senior co-captains Joe Burzumato, left, and Vin Bronzo celebrate the CHSHL City Championship (Monsignor Farrell photo).


CHSHL AA championship: Farrell rallies for three in the third, knocks off Xavier, 4-2, in decisive Game 3

By Nick Regina |

Three was Farrell’s lucky number on Monday night.

The Lions rallied for three goals in three minutes, erasing a 2-1 deficit against Xavier during the third period to take Game 3 of the CHSHL AA hockey championship series at the Staten Island Skating Pavilion. Jason Anzalone’s equalizer at the 14-minute mark spurred a string of three unanswered scores in a span of 2 minutes and 37 seconds -- preceding Daniel Ryan’s game-winner and Matthew Spano’s final tally in a 4-2 triumph over the Knights.

Farrell’s late charge in the deciding tilt earned the Oakwood school its 11th league trophy, which the Lions’ players hoisted overhead amid an enthusiastic post-game celebration in front of a packed house of raucous fans in Rossville. The crown is Farrell’s first since the 2008-2009 season and first under seventh-year head coach Steven DeFranco.

The Lions won both games at home in the best-of-three series and advance to meet St. Joseph’s Collegiate (Buffalo), the winner of the Msgr. Martin Athletic Association championship, in a clash for the Catholic state title on Saturday at 2 p.m.

Head coach Steve DeFranco is in his seventh season with the Lions.  (Photo: Kara Buzga for Staten Island Advance)


“It’s a great win for the boys, for Farrell hockey, and for Farrell overall." 

- Coach Steve DeFranco


“Xavier is a strong team and had a goalie who was playing lights-out,” noted DeFranco after Monday’s triumph. “Our kids dug deep, stuck with the program, and believed in themselves. Once we hit the ice in the third period, I had a good feeling. The kids really stepped up.”

“It means a whole bunch, not only to the program, but to the whole school,” he added. 

Deadlocked No More

Farrell and Xavier entered Monday’s decisive Game 3 deadlocked through five meetings on the season. Both clubs registered identical 4-3 victories at home to even the championship series at 1-1, after tying in all three regular season matchups.

In fact, both sides were even at 16 goals apiece through 15 periods of play heading into Monday night. A scoreless first period only furthered the stalemate.

Something had to give.

Farrell got the better of play early on, firing off the first seven shots on goal to begin the game, but Xavier took control of the pace as the period wore on and closed with 12 of the final 13 shots on goal.

Net-minders (MF) Matteo Beach (37 saves) and (X) Alex Gargano (24 saves) routinely stood on their heads throughout the contest, fending off numerous scoring chances and hordes of traffic in front of both creases.

Junior goaltender Matteo Beach made 37 saves, stopping all 11 Xavier shots in the third period. (Photo: Kara Buzga for Staten Island Advance)

Despite being heavily outshot, 26 to 13 through two periods, the Lions found the back of the net first. Anthony Pizirusso rifled a wrister from the top of the circle with 4:45 to play in the second to put the home team on the board.

Twenty-nine seconds later, Xavier’s Ayden Heron answered on a delayed penalty and less than 90 seconds after that, Sam Silver tacked on a power-play tally to put the Knights up, 2-1.

Farrell took three penalties on Monday and squandered its two chances on the man advantage, but dominated 5-on-5 play in the third period.

Anzalone ignited the rally with a snipe from the slot via a nifty feed from captain Vin Bronzo, who collected five goals in the first two games of the series. Joseph Burzumato earned the secondary helper.

“We just wanted to play our game. We know we’re a good team when we stick to that,” quipped Anzalone after the win. “Momentum is everything, this entire series. They started off with the momentum but we found a way to switch it and come away with the win.”

One minute and 16 seconds later, Jason Lonczynski dropped off a pass in front from behind the goal line, setting up Ryan’s go-ahead score, which sent the building into a Farrell feeding frenzy. With the home crowd buzzing and the smell of blood still fresh in the water, Spano cleaned up a rebound off a shot from Pizirusso to cap off the three-goal stretch at the 11:23 mark.

“It’s a great feeling. Next year is never promised,” said Ryan. “It feels great to finally beat this team. We played even for the whole season and it feels great to finally break away. 


"We are a family and we work for each other and the school and that’s what led us to win."

- Dan Ryan '25


“(Anzalone’s goal) was huge,” he added. “It got us going. We took the lead and we ran with it. I think it frustrated (Xavier).”

From there, a stellar defensive effort, aided by Beach on the backend, limited any significant chances down the stretch. Defensemen Anzalone, Michael Deats, Jason Burzumato, and Josef Davis, along with Joseph Burzumato at forward, helped clear the zone and control the puck through neutral ice for the remainder of the contest.

Junior Dan Ryan, #13, celebrates after scoring the go-ahead goal. (Photo: Kara Buzga for Staten Island Advance)

Xavier pulled Gargano with 1:49 to play, but failed to generate any offense on the man advantage.

“Anzalone is a horse. Any situation, he goes out there and he battles,” pointed out DeFranco. “He’s got one of the hardest shots in the league. He got a nice pass from Vin Bronzo and he buried it.”

“With all the talent we have, sometimes (Ryan) is overlooked, but he’s a kid who can really wheel,” he added. “He’s got great hands and a great shot and you saw it on that goal.”