Sunday afternoons are for football

January 22, 2006 on 2:56 pm | In analysis | Comments Off on Sunday afternoons are for football

a few thoughts before I let the NFL playoffs, Rice women’s basketball, and U.S. soccer take center stage:

Delbarton 3, CBA 1
I saw almost the entire Delbarton-CBA game last night, and it was a really feisty encounter. Both teams were playing hard-nosed, physical, and occasionally dirty. Three of the game’s four goals were scored on the power play, and Delbarton captain Alex Smigelsi was whistled for five minor penalties, which earn an automatic game misconduct. Note this is a misconduct, not a disqualification, and carries no suspension or team ramification.

Delbarton head coach Bruce Shatel handed Sean Kaplan his third start of the season in goal after incumbent Jeff Leone started in Friday’s 4-3 loss to St. John Vianney. Kaplan responded with 11 first period saves and 26 for the game. Despite being drastically outshot early in the first period, Delbarton went on top thanks to a late power-play goal from Charles Nerbak on a subtle pass from Dan Pressl.

CBA also had the better of play early in the second period and finally tied the game on a power play of its own at the 8:23 mark. Mike Chilton fed Trevor van Riemsdyk on the point, and his shot appeared to deflect off a Delbarton defenseman at the edge of the crease before going in. Delbarton responded with 1:14 to play in the period, again on the power play. Skating behind the net, Nerbak fed a cutting Smigelski in the left circle, and although Ryan Cuming made the initial save, Matt Schillings was on hand to pop the rebound over Cuming’s dive.

Delbarton got a key insurance goal early in the third period, as the physical Chris Volonnino dropped a pass down low to Nerbak, who deked a backhand shot through Cuming’s legs. The Colts’ best chance to get back in the game came on a mid-period power play which included 1:05 of 5-on-3 play, but they only managed two shots. Kaplan made 12 saves in the third period to secure the win. Freshman Alex Velischek has spent more time at his normal forward position in the last two weeks for Delbarton (8-4-1), skating on the second line with Nerbak and Volonnino; sophomore Jason Harden has joined Mike Campbell, Dan DeRenzi, and Brian Fuller on the blue line. CBA (3-5-5) lists 10 freshmen or sophomores on its roster. The scoreboard listed shots at 27-18; I don’t entirely trust that number.

Rankings quandaries
So I will have plenty of rankings questions when I sit down to figure them out tonight. Let’s start in the 3-5 slots. Yes, Delbarton lost to St. John Vianney to split the season series. But the Green Wave dominated the shot count in Friday’s loss and outscored the Lancers 6-5 in the two games. And Morristown-Beard beat St. John Vianney, but moving the Crimson up to No. 3 would be a bit much.
Similarly, the NBIAL teams really screwed me up with their exciting games this weekend. Ramsey could be considered the division’s top team after splitting games with Ramapo and Indian Hills, beating the Braves one night before IH handed Ramapo its first loss of the year. Fair Lawn appears to have lost a step on the top three.
Hillsborough and Montgomery are clearly going to move up thanks to Hillsborough’s 4-1 win over Bridgewater this week, although both teams will get adequate chance to prove themselves with upcoming Skyland Conference games. St. Augustine Prep had egg on its face after Ramapo made the drive to Vineland to find no referees. And what to do with Northern Red teams?
Check back really late tonight or tomorrow for updated rankings.

Other weekend action
Steinert and Mendham had a wild one Friday, with the Spartans pulling out an 8-6 win. Additionally, check out this trivia from Mendham’s other game against a CVC opponent this year … in Hopewell Valley‘s 5-2 win over the Minutemen Jan. 6, the Bulldogs scored one goal of each type: even strength, power play, shorthanded, penalty shot, and empty net.
Vernon beat Newburgh Free Academy (N.Y.) 16-6 Friday night. Sixteen! That’s just crazy. However, the Vikings should’ve saved some of those goals for Saturday’s 6-2 loss to Clifton.
Madison beat Hudson Catholic 3-2 on Friday. ‘Nough said.
Bishop Eustace and MonDon tied 3-3, further confusing the Southern Red picture. Eustace has won three consecutive Handchen Cup titles, so the smart money is on the Crusaders to pull out the No. 2 seed, but they only lead Red Bank Catholic by a half-game.
I’m not sure how to feel about the Paramus CatholicSt. Joseph Montvale series. They played twice in an 18-hour span, tying Friday night 3-3 before PC won Saturday afternoon 4-1. Next time, how ’bout a doubleheader with the first game starting at 9 p.m. and the second game at 12:30 a.m.? Somehow, I don’t think the NJSIAA would sign off on that.
Pingry and Mendham tied for the second time in six days Saturday, and the recent resurgence of Jefferson has the Halvorsen Division turning heads. Mendham is just 1-4-2 in league play but has five potentially winnable league games remaining. West Morris ought to have enough of a head-start to win the division and earn promotion, but Mountain Lakes could have something to say about it.
Also, the Mercer County Tournament bracket is now available on the ice cups page. I’m not a big fan of the power-point seeding process … Hopewell Valley and Lawrence ahead of Notre Dame? C’mon now. No way Notre Dame and Princeton should meet in the semifinals.

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