My next report for Hockey Night in Boston is due next week, which has me looking at state-wide rankings. It’s a very interesting picture and, as always, tough to figure out.
Here are some key games over the weekend that could have big effects on the Top 20 rankings:
Wed, Jan. 25:
Bergen Catholic-Kinnelon – A Kinnelon win would uphold the status quo, while a BC win would strengthen all Gordon Conference teams vs. Morris County teams.
Randolph-Ridge – Potentially a battle for the state’s top Public A ranking, when combined with one of Friday’s games.
St. Joseph Metuchen-St. Rose – Lower-weight privates meet in a game that will affect a lot of common opponents (St. John Vianney, Notre Dame, Pope John, etc.)
Ridgewood-Westfield – Perhaps Westfield’s best chance to climb into the Public A race.
Fri, Jan. 27:
Morris Knolls-Randolph – Combined with Wednesday’s game, a battle for the Public A top seed and potentially a top-3 overall ranking behind this year’s big two private schools.
Glen Rock-Ramsey – Key game for Big North Green standings and Public B seeding.
Bergen Catholic-CBA – Will CBA continue its regression or separate itself from the struggling Gordon teams?
Sat, Jan. 28:
Morristown-Ridge – Potentially a chance for the upstart Colonials to jump into the state’s top 5-10.
Paramus Catholic-Tenafly – Winner will claim chance at Top 20 as Big North’s top team.
Lakeland-Ramsey – Another key Big North Green / Public B game.
MKA-Seton Hall Prep – MKA needs to hold serve to stay in the Top 20, while Seton Hall Prep tries to improve its seeding.
Northern Highlands-Ramapo – Big North Silver title and Public B seeding on the line.
Sun, Jan. 29:
Brick Township-Red Bank Catholic – Both teams will likely make the Top 20, but one can strengthen its case in this matchup.
MORRIS COUNTY RULES
When the rankings do come out – HNIB runs a Top 10, but I hope to post a full Top 20 and break down top 10s in each state tourney category – people are going to cry foul. Morris County teams are going to dominate the list – there will probably be more MCSSIHL teams than Gordon or Shore A teams.
Why, you might ask? Try this stat on: The MCSSIHL’s top six teams (Mennen Div. + Morristown) are 30-4-2 in non-league play, with three of those four losses coming to Delbarton/Don Bosco Prep. The only loss to a lower-ranked team was Chatham’s 2-1 loss to Hillsborough in the Jefferson Tournament. Teams vanquished include: MKA, Montgomery, Pingry (x4), Ramapo, Ramsey, St. Augustine Prep, Seton Hall Prep, Summit (x2).
You’ll notice none of those teams, however, is from Shore A. The only Shore A-Mennen game was Red Bank Catholic tying Morris Knolls early in the year. However, the top four Shore A teams (CBA, Middletown South, Brick Township, and RBC) are a combined 2-3-4 against non-Shore teams, including two losses to Ridge. That is one thing that makes Ridge’s games this week against Randolph and Morristown so important – Ridge wins could lump Mennen teams closer to Shore A, while a Randolph win would condemn Shore A teams to fall in the rankings.
SITE UPDATE DELAY
I had to take my laptop into a shop today for some hardware repairs, and since these things have a tendency to drag on, I may not get it back until next week. Additionally, I will be out of town for the weekend, so the main site may not see a lot of updates until next week. My apologies – please keep sending scores, reschedules, added games, and information to jty [at] njhockey.org.
As expected, No. 1 Delbarton stayed on top of the state rankings with a 4-1 win over No. 2 Don Bosco Prep Sunday night before a paid crowd of 566 at the Ice Vault in Wayne. The killer goal came with just three seconds remaining in the second period, as Delbarton’s John Baicco scored in a 4-on-4 situation to restore the Green Wave’s two-goal advantage, and the issue was never in doubt after that.
Delbarton (9-1) extended its in-state unbeaten streak to 33 games (32-0-1) and is 65-1-1 in its last 67 games against New Jersey competition, dating back to 2009. The Green Wave now face four consecutive Gordon Conference games against South Jersey opposition, beginning Tuesday against Bishop Eustace. Don Bosco Prep (13-1) suffered its first loss of the season and returns to action on Friday in the quarterfinals of the inaugural Bergen County Tournament.
The first period was one-way traffic, with Delbarton almost setting up camp in the Don Bosco half of the ice and running up a 12-2 shot advantage. The Green Wave did not break the deadlock, however, until the 13-minute mark, as defenseman Tommy Muratore made a right-wing rush and threw the puck in front of the net, where forward Tommy Fowler was able to sweep it under Don Bosco goalie Jarred Liscio. Delbarton then stunned the Ironmen just 14 seconds into the second period, with Alex Hagerty feeding sophomore Chad Otterman in the left circle, and he rifled an impressive snap shot past Liscio up high.
Don Bosco Prep did get back into the game late in the period, aided by Delbarton penalties. Less than 30 seconds after Delbarton’s Colton Phinney made four saves on the game’s first power play, the Ironmen pulled a goal back when a point shot from Rory Garlasco slipped through Phinney, and Lucas Lappino was on hand to poke it home. The goal, with 4:01 remaining in the period, brought the Don Bosco students to their feet and raised the atmosphere of the game.
But they key play came in the final minute of the second period, as a Don Bosco power play was quickly nullified by a penalty, leading to a four-on-four situation. After Drew Melanson put in a long shift to get the puck deep, Green Wave forward John Baicco walked out of the left corner and made a slick move to fake out Liscio before sliding in a shot with just three seconds remaining in the period, restoring Delbarton’s two-goal advantage. The goal effectively killed Don Bosco’s momentum and set the stage for a third period that was short on drama.
The four-time defending private state champions put the game out of reach at the 5:48 mark, as Trevor Agostino whipped a rebound past Liscio up high to provide the final margin of 4-1.
Delbarton 4, Don Bosco Prep 1
13:00 Del #8 Tommy Fowler (#6 Tommy Muratore, #26 Trevor Agostino)
0:14 Del #21 Chad Otterman (#18 Alex Hagerty, #11 Davis Agostino)
10:59 DBP #25 Lucas Luppino (#8 Rory Garlasco, #9 Justin McKenzie)
14:57 Del #12 John Baiocco (unassisted)
5:48 Del #26 Trevor Agostino (#10 Chad Heal, #11 Davis Agostino)
#1 Colton Phinney (Del) 14-13
#31 Jarred Lisco (DBP) 22-18
Power plays: Del 0-1, DBP 0-5
The early candidate for regular-season Game of the Year in New Jersey takes place tonight when unbeaten No. 2 Don Bosco Prep (13-0) takes aim at top-ranked four-time defending private state champion Delbarton (8-1) at the Ice Vault.
It’s a little bit unusual to have the state’s top two teams meet only once during the regular season, but with Don Bosco Prep left in the National Division of the Gordon Conference and Delbarton in the American Division, Sunday’s matchup is their lone head-to-head meeting, which makes it even bigger.
We almost got to Sunday with both teams unbeaten, but Delbarton dropped its first game of the year during the week, falling 2-0 to Connecticut prep power Hotchkiss. The Green Wave still have a 32-game unbeaten streak (31-0-1) against New Jersey teams, dating back to the 2010 Gordon Cup semifinals. Going farther back, Delbarton is 64-1-1 against New Jersey teams since losing to CBA in January 2009, with both losses coming in the postseason against St. Augustine Prep. Over the last four-plus seasons, Delbarton’s in-state record is a remarkable 91-4-2. However, despite huge shot advantages in the last two games, the Green Wave were held to two goals against Morristown-Beard and were shut out against Hotchkiss, so they will need to find their scoring touch.
They will have to do so against one of the state’s top goalies, sophomore Jarred Liscio, who has been a big part of Don Bosco’s torrid start. The Ironmen survived two scares of their own this week, rallying late to beat St. Peter’s Prep 3-2 on a last-minute goal and then holding off Bishop Eustace 1-0 despite missing a few players. Despite the gaudy record, St. Peter’s Prep and Bergen Catholic (6-1 W) are the two highest-ranked teams Don Bosco has played this year, so Sunday’s game will be a different challenge altogether.
I’m excited to make the drive up from Philadephia to Wayne for this one, and I hear just about every hockey reporter in the northern part of the state and, more importantly, a ton of college hockey coaches will be cramming into the Ice Vault, so I advise arriving early for the 6:15 p.m. face-off. It is the very definition of a must-see game.