moving day

January 13, 2006 on 11:18 pm | In game recap | Comments Off on moving day

I can already tell there’s going to be some serious movement in the Top 20 this week thanks to Friday’s action. For starters, unranked Bishop Eustace (7-4) downed rival and sixth-ranked St. Augustine Prep (9-1) by a 3-2 score this afternoon in Vineland to deny the Hermits dominance over the Southern Red Division. Elsewhere, reports have No. 1 Seton Hall Prep (7-0-2) with a 3-1 win over No. 2 Don Bosco Prep (6-3-1) at South Mountain Arena and Notre Dame (4-3-2) with a big 7-4 win over St. Joseph Montvale (4-3-4). No. 4 St. John Vianney (6-3-1) moved into fourth place in the Gordon Conference with a 5-3 win over No. 10 St. Peter’s Prep (6-3-1). Finally, in NBIAL action, No. 19 Ramapo (9-0-2) used two power play goals and a penalty shot save to edge Ramsey (7-4-1) by a 2-1 score in a classic game at Sport-O-Rama. Also, East Side, Hamilton, and Demarest all won on the same night, each recording its first victory of the season – what are the odds?
But I was in Bridgewater tonight for the second installment of perhaps the state’s best public-school rivalry, and it didn’t disappoint.

Bridgewater-Raritan 1, Ridge 0
No. 14 Bridgewater-Raritan (10-1) already had one big win this week – 2-0 over No. 13 Chatham – and headed into Friday night’s encounter hoping to sweep the regular-season series from rival Ridge (6-3-3) after the Panthers recorded their first-ever win over the Red Devils in the season opener Dec. 2.

Both teams came away more pleased with their performance in this game, played with much more speed, but the Panthers pulled out another one-goal victory. Fans from both schools packed BSA, and more than 500 people were standing three-deep in some places on the balcony railing. I spent the first two periods on tiptoes trying to see over and around everybody.

With loud student sections screaming all the while, the two teams skated furiously for the first two minutes before the game settled down into a rhythm. Bridgewater had the better of play and had six shots before Ridge got its first, but Jon Lyons stood tall in the Red Devil goal. The Panthers almost took the lead with 4:30 remaining when Chris Caravanos, in the left circle, took a neat feed from defenseman Donny Pelligrino and fired a wrist shot that rang the right post. Lyons’ counterpart, Gary Biggs, came up with a big save on a Ridge 2-on-1 in the final minute of the period to keep the game scoreless.

Bridgewater broke the deadlock just 34 seconds into the first period. Head coach Patrick Alvin elected to start the second period with his second line, and it produced an early 3-on-2 break. Croy Vanderbeek slid the puck ahead to Steven Minichini in the slot, and although Lyons made the initial save, a mad scramble ensued at the top of the crease, and Chris Tommins was able to tap in what proved to be the only goal of the game.

It energized Bridgewater for the first half of the period, but star forward Kevin Tino missed a breakaway as Lyons stacked his pads midway through the period, and the score remained 1-0. Ridge picked up its play for a two-minute stretch behind first-line forward Andre Menard and the inspired play of its second line, but the Red Devils appeared to be running out of gas at the ice cut.

No fans left during the ice cut without asking a friend to save their spot at the railing, and the game resumed with typical intensity exemplified by collisions at the Ridge net. The Red Devils pressed play through the middle part of the period but rarely got quality shots on net at Biggs. It looked like Bridgewater would have an easy time of it when granted the game’s first power play with 3:42 remaining, but Ridge got a make-up call 20 seconds later, and the 4-on-4 time produced Ridge’s best chance.

With 2:46 remaining, Ridge’s Keith Macey swept in from the left boards and had his initial shot stopped by Biggs. The rebound fell to an open Menard on the edge of the crease, but Biggs sprawled to take away an easy finish, and Menard was unable to lift the puck over the goalie. When Biggs finally covered up, the Bridgewater bench and stands were at their loudest. Ridge took a timeout with 1:11 remaining, but an icing call pinned the Red Devils in their own zone for the entire final minute, and they were never able to cross center ice to pull Lyons.

BSA could use some more bleachers for big games like this one, but the atmosphere was just about perfect. And although Ridge fans walked away on the losing end, the Red Devils probably proved themselves as a public contender. There is no rest for the weary, however, as Bridgewater gets a chance for revenge against Hillsborough Wednesday and hardly has a break in its schedule the rest of the season.

Bridgewater-Raritan 1, Ridge 0


BR  0 1 0 1
Rid 0 0 0 0


BR  13 14  3 30
Rid 6 6  8 20

0:34 BR #18 Chris Tommins (#12 Steven Minichini, #4 Croy Vanderbeek)

#24 Brian DiNardo (BR) 1-1
#23 Gary Biggs (BR) 19-19
#45 Jon Lyons (Rid) 30-29

Power plays: BR 0-1, Rid 0-1

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