Lot of action tonight. Let’s see if we can put it in historical context.
MKA 6, Scotch Plains-Fanwood 6
Red Bank Catholic 6, Morris Knolls 5
Okay, not a lot to write home about there. Good tune-up for RBC and Knolls.
Pingry 9, Paul VI 0 – Big Blue win just their second state game in the last eight years, beating Paul VI in its first state tournament appearance ever.
Gloucester Catholic 2, Pope John 1 – First state win in team history for Gloucester, and the winning goal came with just three minutes remaining.
Brick 10, Toms River South 1 – Green Dragons’ first actual win (not counting shootouts) in the state tournament since 2003.
Johnson 9, Robbinsville 3 – Johnson also had not won a state game since 2003 and will now aim for a true first – the team has never won two games in the state tournament. Robbinsville was making its first appearance in the state tournament.
Wall 3, Passaic Valley 2, OT – The Crimson Knights won a preliminary game for the third straight year. They have never won two state tournament games. PV is 0-3 in its state tournament history. Also the first overtime game of this year’s tournaments. There were 12 last year.
St. Joseph Metuchen 4, DePaul Catholic 1 – Can’t come up with too much for this one. DPC dropped to 0-2 in the state tournament all time, while St. Joseph Metuchen has not earned consecutive state tournament wins in the modern (1995) era.
PDS 1, Hun 0
Hopewell Valley 4, WWPN 3
PDS, playing in the Mercer County Tournament for the first time in a good while, will face Hopewell Valley in the final. The Bulldogs have not reached the final since 1999. In 22 years of MCT history, 11.5 titles have been won by private schools and 10.5 by publics … can Hopewell even the score for the publics?
Apparently it snowed a bit up there. I wouldn’t know anything about that, but I have heard that pretty much everything has been postponed.
Mennen Cup semifinals – Saturday, 4:15 (MK-MB) and 9:00 (Pin-Ran). Mennen Cup finals will be Monday at 7 p.m.
Shore Conference finals – Monday at 6:15 (Shore B / Dowd) and 8:30 (Shore A / Handchen)
NBIAL final & third place – Tuesday at 7 (Final) and 9 (Third Place)
There’s also a hot rumor going around that today’s NJIHL games at South Mountain have been moved to Monday.
Thanks to Nancy Hughes, Brian Wilkinson, Roger Jones and others for keeping me in the loop.
One of the best weeks of the season, the week of the various ice cups, kicked off with a bang Monday, as six of the 25 scheduled playoff games went to overtime. Cranford, Lakeland, Hunterdon Central, Monsignor Donovan and Montclair Kimberley all won overtime contests to advance to their respective semifinals. All this after Tenafly’s OT win last night.
The Gordon Cup quarterfinals went mostly as planned, with easy wins for this year’s big three of Delbarton, CBA and St. Augustine Prep, while Bergen Catholic won on the road at Bishop Eustace to round out the semifinals.
In the Central Red, Ridge stands out as the lone public school competing with St. Joseph Metuchen, Gloucester Catholic and MKA for the McInnis Cup title.
Cranford and Hunterdon Central pulled out overtime wins over Summit and Johnson, respectively, in closely contested games between local rivals. Watchung Hills and Paul VI also reached the Van Cott Cup semifinals.
Ramapo pulled off an upset with a 4-1 win over Indian Hills in NBIAL Cup play, joining the big three of Fair Lawn, Ramsey and Northern Highlands in Wednesday’s semifinals. You can check out all the NBIAL cup action here.
Brick beat rival Brick Memorial 5-1 in a game surprising not so much for the result as the score; the teams tied 3-3 a week ago, and I did not expect either team to win by four. In the other Shore A first-round game, Wall took heavy favorite Monsignor Donovan to overtime before losing 6-5. Shore B favorite Rumson-Fair Haven advanced to the final with a 6-2 win over Red Bank Regional. Bob Badders has Shore coverage here.
The seeding meeting for the state tournaments is Wednesday afternoon. Can’t wait to see what the public split tourney brings us. Additionally, Wednesday will have a ton of semifinal games that ought to be entertaining.
The Shore Conference does things its own way, and I think it worked out pretty well in this case. I have the criteria for seeding in the Shore A and Shore B tournaments … lo and behold, the Shore counted all 17 or 19 league games. Unbelievable. After the number kept getting downgraded all year, from all Shore games to all Shore A or Shore B games to division games only, they ended up using the whole lot.
According to tournament director Brian Wilkinson, the criteria were:
1. Shore Conference record (all games)
2. head to head
3. common opponents (they’re all common opponents, so I’m not sure how this would work)
1. St. John Vianney 15-0-2 (32 pts)
2. Red Bank Catholic 14-1-2 (30 pts)
3. Monsignor Donovan 14-2-1 (29 pts)
4. Brick Memorial 10-5-2 (22 pts)
5. Brick Township 10-5-2 (22 pts)
6. Wall 8-7-2 (18 pts)
7. Middletown North 8-8-1 (17 pts)
8. Toms River East 7-10-1 (15 pts)
9. Toms River North 5-12-0 (10 pts)
10. Middletown South 1-15-1 (3 pts)
1. Rumson-Fair Haven 12-5-2 (26 pts)
2. Toms River South 10-8-1 (21 pts)
3. Manasquan 9-8-2 (20 pts)
4. Red Bank Regional 8-8-3 (19 pts)
5. Jackson Memorial 7-9-3 (17 pts)
6. Point Pleasant 6-12-1 (13 pts)
7. Southern Regional 4-15-0 (8 pts)
8. St. Rose 0-19-0 (0 pts)
The most interesting note is that Rumson-Fair Haven would have finished third in Shore B North if only division games were counted but won Shore B handily (five points) when using the overall method. It is important to note that the schedule was not balanced – A teams played two games against division opponents, while all crossover games were aligned geographically. The Bricks, therefore, had a slight advantage over Middletown North and Wall by having to face less private schools, and Shore A south teams probably had a slight advantage as well.
The criteria also meant that Wall got in ahead of Middletown North by a single point, while North was one point ahead in the division-only standings. I think the Lions might be pretty peeved by that. Next year, this criteria should be publicized and codified in November, if not earlier, so teams know what they’re dealing with.
Still haven’t heard word on names for the cups.
Public B got tough near the end, but the top is certainly mouth-watering. Wouldn’t things be fun if we had one tournament? Maybe we’ll get to that scenario later. For now, here are my Public B projections:
Public A has some question marks while we wait for at-large teams to be selected and announced. So we’ll adjust as necessary, but for now, here’s how it lines up:
Let’s start with the private schools, since they are by far the easiest of the three projections. I’ve only got one team I had trouble placing, so let’s get an idea of what this bracket could look like …