little brother to the rescue

March 6, 2006 on 10:35 pm | In game recap | Comments Off on little brother to the rescue

NJSIAA Private First Round: Morristown-Beard 2, Bergen Catholic 1 (OT)
Morristown-Beard snuck into the quarterfinals of the NJSIAA private state tournament after a dramatic 2-1 overtime win over Gordon Conference representative Bergen Catholic Monday, the Crimson’s second win of the year over the Crusaders. Freshman defenseman Bobby Yannotta set up Greg Alberti’s tying goal with 2:19 remaining and scored the winning goal 2:38 into overtime. It is Morristown-Beard’s second all-time state-tournament victory, the other a 6-3 win over Hudson Catholic in 2002.

Beard beat BC 5-2 in December, but the Crusaders made great strides throughout the season and went 3-2 down the stretch, including wins over Don Bosco Prep and St. John Vianney. Even though BC had just two wins at the state cutoff date, its pedigree, schedule, and comparative scores probably should have dictated being seeded ahead of No. 11 Notre Dame. The game was a fast, physical contest that seemed miles away from public games like Sunday’s Mountain Lakes-Montclair contest.

The game remained scoreless and virtually without chances – each team had less than 10 shots – for the first 23 minutes or so. Then the action began to heat up. Bergen Catholic goalie Angelo Tsaganeas had to make three saves in 10 seconds to keep Morristown-Beard off the scoreboard, and BC went on the power play immediately after. The Crusaders ran an efficient power play and forced five saves from Crimson goalie John Yanchek, in addition to Nick Ianora’s backhander that rang the post after a Yanchek pokecheck. BC continued its pressure and capitalized on a mistake in the period’s final minute when freshman forward Michael Kim picked up a turnover deep in the offensive zone and fed forward Geoff Hauck, entering the zone on a line change, high in the slot. Hauck whistled a wrist shot past Yanchek stick-side for a 1-0 lead. Bergen Catholic almost took advantage of another defensive mishap just 23 seconds later, but Ianora was again denied by the post.

The third period began in slightly bizarre fashion, as Bergen Catholic was whistled for a delay-of-game penalty after huddling at its bench for a cheer before the period began. Technically a penalty, but perhaps a warning would have sufficed in a state tournament game. It did not matter much, however, since Morristown-Beard ran one of the worst power plays you will ever see. The Crimson did not even set up their power play for more than a minute, got only one shot, and lost the power play when senior defenseman Pat Yannotta had to take a penalty to deny a breakaway. Bergen Catholic controlled play for much of the third period, and Morristown-Beard seemed to panic offensively, settling for slap shots from 10 feet inside the blue line.

But a power play at the 9:20 mark, combined with the urgency of the situation, seemed to inspire Beard. Tsaganeas made two stops on the power play, but the Crimson continued to apply pressure. Second-line forward Jake Lewis pressured the puck deep in the offensive zone on a line change, and Bobby Yannotta gloved a clearance attempt for a crucial blue-line keep. As I saw it, Matt Kruvant then tried to switch the puck from right to left for Greg Alberti, but his pass was out of reach and caromed off the boards. Alberti caught up with it in the left face-off circle and teed up a snap shot that beat Tsaganeas upstairs to level the game with just 2:19 remaining. Morristown-Beard had one last chance with an offensive zone face-off and three seconds remaining, but Alberti whistled a wrist shot high.

The stage was set for a dramatic overtime goal, but it came not from heralded defenseman Pat Yannotta, the Crimson’s best player all season, but his younger brother and defense partner Bobby. After holding the puck in at the left point, the younger Yannotta wristed a shot that squeezed between Tsaganeas’ shoulder and the top left corner for the winning goal. The win also gave Beard its first 20-win season at least since the early 1990s. The Crimson will face either Don Bosco Prep or Paramus Catholic in the private quarterfinals.

Morristown-Beard 2, Bergen Catholic 1 (OT)


BC 0 1 0 0 1
MB 0 0 1 1 2


BC  4 10 5  0 19
MB  6 7 10  1 24

14:15 BC #27 Geoff Hauck (#12 Michael Kim)
12:41 MB #19 Greg Alberti (#5 Matt Kruvant, #24 Bobby Yannotta)
2:38 MB #24 Bobby Yannotta

#30 Angelo Tsaganeas (BC) 24-22
#30 John Yanchek (MB) 19-18

Power plays: BC 0-2, MB 0-3

In other state tournament action Monday … Tenafly did it again, stunning 11th-seeded Ramapo 4-3 in overtime on a goal from Gideon Pappas. Standout Mike Kronfeld assisted on all four Tenafly goals. The 22nd-seeded Tigers, who lost in overtime in the quarterfinals last year as a No. 22 seed after a pair of upsets, will face Bridgewater-Raritan Wednesday at the Rock Ice Pavilion. … Randolph breezed by Park Regional 10-0 at Mennen Arena behind a first-period hat trick from Rob Kral. The Rams will take on Mountain Lakes Wednesday night. … Steinert won a sloppy contest at Mercer County Park 9-6 over Wall thanks to 24 saves from Alex Toth, one goal and four assists from Mitch Wien, and a had trick from D.J. Ruppert. The Spartans host Ridge Wednesday afternoon at Mercer in the round of 16, the farthest Steinert has advanced in the modern two-tournament era. … Princeton also represented the CVC well, knocking out at-large qualifier Middletown South by a 6-2 margin at IceLand. It is the earliest exit for Middletown South since 2001. The Little Tigers play at top-seeded Morris Knolls Tuesday night. … Toms River North had little trouble with Northern Highlands in an 8-1 win, while Old Bridge squeaked past Hopewell Valley 4-3. The Mariners and Knights will meet for the second time this season; Old Bridge won the first game, 7-5.

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