I hit up the Ice Vault tonight for a scheduled quadrupleheader that ended up having three games, including two headliners: Bergen Catholic-Don Bosco Prep and Ramsey-Northern Highlands. I was warmly received by all, and it was great to put faces with names in several different instances.
On to the games …
I have a long-running love affair with the Cron Tournament, always held in the first three weeks of December at Warinanco Rink in Roselle. (For more on our shared history, check out my post from 2006, the first year I missed an edition entirely). Anyway, after missing the last three tournaments, I saw my first Cron action in four years tonight.
The short version is that in the third-place game, Summit and Westfield played to a 0-0, overtime tie that was, to me, exactly what the score reflects: evenly matched teams with trouble scoring. In the final, Morris Knolls reclaimed its title (the Golden Eagles’ six-year winning streak was snapped last year) by pounding Johnson (the team that snapped it) by a 13-4 score. Dillon Garritty won the MVP award for Knolls. More after the jump …
Nothing like the first day of hockey season. My plane landed in Houston around 8:30 CT tonight, and I immediately checked to see if my phone was getting internet service. By some miracle, this is one of the roughly three days per month that the internet was working, so I was able to get a couple of scores right away. I got the smell of a rink yesterday by checking out the skating rink at Penn while in Philadelphia, and now some scores to really kick things off.
As always, first-day scores don’t mean a whole lot, but here’s what I learned from the scores I’ve seen for Tuesday:
- Delbarton is for real. I mean really for real. They were obviously favored to beat Don Bosco Prep, but 10-0? That blew away my expectations. I haven’t talked to Bruce Shatel or Greg Toskos yet, but you have to figure Delbarton is already in great form coming off its pre-season prep tournament in New England. It’ll be interesting to see if they can maintain that for four months. Looking at the scoring report, the Green Wave’s top line of Kenny Agostino, Mike Ambrosia, and Mike Pirovano absolutely lit up the Ironmen, producing four of the first six goals. Matt Gelnaw had two goals and an assist to provide some depth.
- Break up the Shore C! These second-year teams went 4-0 on December 1, including Howell’s 1-0 win over Brick Memorial and Freehold Township’s win over Steinert. There were also wins for Manalapan, 4-3 over WWPS, and Marlboro, 7-4 over Monroe. But the first two are the big two. Howell was the class of the division last year, going 19-4-1, winning the Dowd Cup, and a state playoff game, so they definitely won’t sneak up on anybody this year. But the Rebels lost to Brick Memorial in the Public A Round of 16, so they started off 2009-10 with a little bit of revenge thanks to a third-period power play goal from Eddie Pyskaty and 23 saves from Zack Peras, including some big ones in the final minute. The Freehold Township win may bring even better news for the division, since the Patriots were only 10-10-2 last year, including losses to St. Rose and Toms River South and 0 wins against teams that finished with a .500 or better record. To beat Steinert – nobody’s powerhouse but traditionally a solid public squad – could be an indicator of a very strong division this year. John Talamo netted six goals for Freehold Township. And remember, Shore Conference alignment gets adjusted every two years, so all five Shore C teams and first-year teams Jackson Liberty and Ocean Township are playing for a more competitive division in next year’s standings.
- I was surprised by the 3-3 tie between Montgomery and West Essex. Nothing against Wessex, but I had Montgomery as one of the Public A favorites this year. West Essex jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first period, and the Cougars had to rally for a tie. Not the way the Cougars wanted to open, but it is a good sign for West Essex, which could be very competitive in Public B.
- The Halvorsen Division will be close once again. Jefferson eked out a 5-3 win over Mountain Lakes (with the benefit of an empty-netter) to open the schedule tonight, with two goals from Luke Combos and a goal and three assists from Jimmy Stokes. Combos scored the game-winner with just 2:23 left after the Lakers had come back from a 3-1 deficit at the second intermission. John Dagger (great name) made 32 saves to keep Lakes in it. I can’t see very many easy games in that division with these two teams, Mendham, Morristown, and Pequannock. Morristown and Mendham meet on Thursday in a big-time game this early in the season. Pequannock was last year’s whipping boy, but the other four teams all accounted themselves very well in the state tournament, so hopefully they’ll all find a way to qualify again this year despite slugging it out against each other.
Wednesday’s 22 games include some interesting ones like Bishop Eustace-CBA, PDS-Randolph, Chatham-Cranford, Middletown North-Old Bridge, Mendham-Bridgewater, Pope John-Gloucester Catholic, Notre Dame-Hopewell Valley, and Paul VI-St. Joseph Metuchen.
A reminder to email confirmed scores to jty [at] njhockey.org.