South Mountain public doubleheader

January 9, 2006 on 9:45 pm | In game recap | 2 Comments

I took in a pair of public-school games at South Mountain Arena today, which now has a newly painted roof and appears close to the end of its renovation.

Mountain Lakes 3, Vernon 1
Vernon might decide to stay away from Morris County teams in the future, as the Halvorsen Division’s Mountain Lakes handed the Vikings a 3-1 defeat. The Lakers only skated two lines but were still able to outplay Vernon and earn the victory. Jacob Sutker scored the game’s opening goal just 3:24 into the first period, beating Erik Kwitchoff with a high wrist shot from the slot. Lakes struck even earlier in the second period, as Clint McDonough tied up his defenseman, allowing the carom of a missed shot to drift back into the low slot, where Zach Cohen flipped into into the left side of the net. Cohen was on target again midway through the period, backhanding a shot from the corner through the legs of Kwitchoff on a power play.

At the other end, Matt Lowell had an excellent game in goal for Mountain Lakes, stopping 30 of 31 shots. Vernon finally pulled a goal back with three minutes remaining when Dan Colvin, held in check most of the night, used quick hands to set up Michael Cifelli for a semi-breakaway. Cifelli tried to go five-hole on Lowell, and apparently succeeded as the net was knocked loose in a collision. Lowell complained to the near-side official that he had made the initial save and then the net came off, but to no avail. Still, the Lakers had no trouble finishing out the game, although they did contrive to miss a 3-on-0 power-play rush on an empty net.

West Essex 4, Verona 4
This was my first look at Verona, and I thought the Hillbillies had the better of play, but always gritty West Essex pulled out a 4-4 tie. Verona’s top line gave the Knights trouble all night, scoring twice in three minutes in the first period to take a 2-0 lead. Danny Harris took a huge windup befoer blasting a shot past Nick Fernicola, and James Facey ripped home a rebound to double the advantage. But West Essex pulled back a goal before the intermission when Rob Pordon deflected a point shot by Verona goalie Henry Doernberg.

The Knights then tied the game early in the second period, as Jeff Kayzerman got free off the left boards and beat Doernberg up high with a wrist shot. Verona went on the power play soon after, and it was extended to a four-minute man advantage for an unsportmanlike conduct penalty. The Hillbillies took advantage, as Facey put the final touch on a goal scored during the second penalty. Despite three power plays and a 12-4 shot advantage in the period, Verona could not add to its lead.

West Essex owned the opening stages of the third period, with Pordon jamming in a controversial rebound in a five-shot sequence to tie the game. John Auriemma then gave Wessex its first lead when the Verona defense failed to clear a rebound lying in the slot. But Facey rallied Verona more than a minute later thanks to a brilliant play from Harris. Locked up with a defender behind the net, Harris reached his leg around his defender to kick the puck in front of the net. Fernicola had no idea where the puck was, and Facey nicked in to bang it home and tie the game.

Verona’s two lines were the more dangerous and exciting all night, but the Hillbillies had trouble clearing their own zone, and West Essex was able to take advantage of poor defensive-zone coverage to earn the tie.

Mountain Lakes 3, Vernon 1

Vern 0 0 1 1
ML   1 2 0 3
Vern 13 8 10 31
ML   13 10 10 33

3:24 ML #12 Jacob Sutker (#44 Clint McDonough)
0:22 ML #8 Zach Cohen (#12 Jacob Sutker, #44 Clint McDonough)
8:43 ML (pp) #8 Zach Cohen (#21 Kyle Fisher)
12:00 Vern #10 Michael Cifelli (#27 Dan Colvin)

#30 Erik Kwitchoff (Vern) 33-30
#30 Matt Lowell (Vern) 31-30

Power plays: Vern 0-3, ML 1-4

West Essex 4, Verona 4

WE   1 1 2 4
Vero 2 1 1 4
WE 11 4 12 27
Vero 9 12 9 30

7:36 Vero #3 Danny Harris (unassisted)
10:42 Vero #13 James Facey (#25 Kyle MacIntyre)
14:23 WE (pp) #9 Rob Pordon (#13, #11 Jeff Kayzerman)
2:37 WE #11 Jeff Kayzerman (unassisted)
7:32 Vero (pp) #13 James Facey (#3 Danny Harris, #25 Kyle MacIntyre)
2:52 WE #9 Rob Pordon (#10 John Auriemma)
6:29 WE #10 John Auriemma (unassisted)
7:47 Vero #13 James Facey (#3 Danny Harris)

#34 Nick Fernicola (WE) 30-26
#33 Henry Doernberg (Vero) 27-23

Power plays: WE 1-2, Vero 1-3


  1. Verona vs. West Essex was a very exciting game with plenty of end to end action. Hope you can come and check out West Essex another time…they’ve been struggling with results but have been very competitive against the state’s top teams (Morris Knolls, Randolph, Bridgewater, Paramus Catholic, and St. Joe’s Met. to name a few)

    Comment by West Essex Fan — 10 January 2006 #

  2. The best part of the game is watching the kids play because Pordon,Auriemma,Fernicola,(West Essex) and Thiele,Slotkin,Doernberg,Dellafave,Facey,Hyland (GR and Verona) all are on the same team at the Blues and will be a team together in February at the Midget playoffs. Good Luck!

    Comment by VGR mom — 13 January 2006 #

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