Lions keeper Delfini denies Renegades in Cougar Cup final
Darien, IL - March 2, 2013: Lyons' goalie Paolo Delfini (35) vs the Renegades Hockey Team's Thomas Ohman (26). | Steve Johnston~for Sun-Times Media
Hosts Quad (North Campus) vs. Lockport, W. Warrenv. S., Hinsdale C., 4:30 p.m.
At Hinsdale South vs. Oak Lawn, Lincoln-Way C., 5:30 p.m.
At H-Flossmoor Invite, 6 p.m.
Hosts (South Campus) vs. Glenbard West, 6 p.m.
At Glenbard West, 7 p.m.
At Hadley Mid. School vs. Glenbard West, 5 p.m.
Hosts (South Campus) vs. Waubonsie Valley, 5:30 p.m.
At Proviso West w/Rolling Meadows, Prospect, 5 p.m.
Hosts (South Campus) vs. Nazareth, Hillcrest, Prairie Ridge, 10 a.m.
BOYS WATER POLO
Hosts (South Campus) vs. Hinsdale S., 6 p.m.
At Fenwick Invite, 4 p.m.
GIRLS WATER POLO
At York, 6 p.m.
Hosts (South Campus) vs. OPRF, 6 pm.
Updated: April 8, 2013 7:11AM
DARIEN — Lyons’ Paolo Delfini had been playing forward throughout his childhood hockey career, but at age 8, he was ready for a change.
“I remember this exactly,” he said. “I came up to my parents and said, ‘Dad, I want to be a goalie.’ He said alright and here I am.”
Now a junior at Lyons, Delfini averages 25 saves per game. He made 14 stops during the first game of the Cougar Cup on Saturday, leading the Lions to a 6-4 win over AWF.
“He’s unbelievable,” said Lyons head coach Rick Reznick. “Paolo’s been there all year, he’s been phenomenal for us.”
It wasn’t always like that for Delfini. Getting pucks shot at him all day wore him out.
“After a year I was tempted to quit,” he said. “I was going to go back and play forward, but I decided to continue and tough it out.”
This year has been tough for Delfini but he hopes there’s a better outcome than a year ago.
“Last game before the playoffs last year I tore a ligament. I was out until the last two games of the playoffs,” he said. Lyons came up short and lost in overtime.
“But injuries are a part of hockey,” he said. “You have to work around it and this year I’ve been healthy and hopefully it stays that way and we’ll win.”
Delfini bases his play on his favorite goaltender, Marc-Andre Fleury of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
“I like the way he plays and keeps his composure in games,” Delfini said. “I like that flashiness that he has, I look up to him as a goalie and I try to play like him.”
After Saturday’s win over AWF, Delfini has his eyes on a trophy and Reznick is right there with him.
“He had another great performance, to stand on his head and make some key saves like that,” Reznick said. “Just him giving us that veteran presence is big. He was here last year and they came up short in overtime and it’s good for him to get the first one under his belt and get some confidence going into the championship.”
The last two weeks have been some of the toughest games Delfini has played in his career. On Feb. 27, Lyons faced Naperville Central in the first round of the Blackhawk Cup and lost 5-4.
“We came back from a 4-0 deficit,” said Delfini. “But the physicality of the game and even (Saturday’s) game is hard. It’s hard to deal with these things, these high-pressure games with all the fans.”
Following Saturday’s penalty-filled match, Delfini said he was used to the rowdiness of the crowd but still has other things to work on.
“It’s just heated and tempers flare,” he said. “I played in it last year. It’s the physicality I’m not used to and not used to all of those penalties. The high speeds and everything and all of those five-on-threes.”
Coach Reznick is focusing on disciplined hockey and isn’t worried about Delfini.
“I have confidence in him when I send him to the net,” he said. “He’s phenomenal.”