first-win shout-outs continue

January 20, 2008 on 1:54 am | In breaking news, game recap | Comments Off on first-win shout-outs continue

Edison picked up its first win in school history by beating West Orange 5-2 on Saturday. Congrats to the Eagles! And I think I forgot to give Dayton some love for its win over Old Bridge on Thursday. We’re still looking for Old Bridge and West Morris to garner victories, but they’ve had winning seasons before. Hats off to Edison – that first win is always special.

big Friday night winners

January 19, 2008 on 9:52 am | In game recap | Comments Off on big Friday night winners

There was plenty of big Friday night action this week, but I think the game everybody was talking about was Delbarton’s first game on its Minnesota trip. Boosted by pregame speeches from George Parros and 1980 Olympic gold medalist Rob McClanahan and by feeling like an underdog, Delbarton came away with a 5-2 win. I like the story from the Daily Record, although I think calling Breck the ninth-ranked team in the state may be a little off. True to form, Delbarton got goals from four different players in the win, including two from Pingry transfer Mike Ambrosia, who really seems to be making an impact.

Other big winners Friday … Watchung Hills beat Ridge 2-1 less than a month after losing to the state’s top-ranked public in a shootout. This could really screw up the rankings, since Watchung Hills just lost to Johnson … Paul VI rallied with two late goals to beat Westfield and remain unbeaten in the Central White … Hunterdon Central was missing several players but rallied to beat Summit 5-4 … Randolph bounced back from its loss to Northern Highlands with an emphatic 5-1 win over Morris Knolls … Wayne Valley knocked off Paramus 3-1 … Bergen Catholic edged Bishop Eustace 3-2 … Northern Highlands got past Indian Hills 5-4 in a big battle of Public B teams … Wall and Brick played to an exciting 2-2 tie … and last but certainly not least, my second-favorite result of the night: Hudson Catholic 6, Hackettstown 5 to bring Hudson Catholic to 1-13 and break a 27-game losing streak.

And this isn’t about hockey, but what a match between Roger Federer and Janko Tipsarevic in the Australian Open last night. Unbelievable. I watched half of it last night and the other half this morning (the miracle of DVR). Federer went down two sets to one, which is shocking enough for a player who has a 43-match Grand Slam hard-court winning streak. Federer won the fourth set, 6-1, and the two then battled through an epic fifth set (remember, no tiebreakers). Tipsarevic had to work SO hard to hold every serve, while Federer held serve pretty easily. Finally, after trailing love-40, Federer broke serve at 8-8 and went on to serve out the match for a 6-7, 7-6, 5-7, 6-1, 10-8 win in a match that took four hours, 27 minutes. Ridiculously entertaining.

Thursday update

December 20, 2007 on 10:42 am | In breaking news, game recap | 5 Comments

A couple of results from Wednesday games that are worth noting. First of all, and most importantly, East Side got a win! The Red Raiders beat St. Rose 5-4 on Thursday for its first win since beating St. Rose 7-1 on Feb. 1, 2006. Of course, that’s only about five games ago, since East Side did not field a team last year. Next time these teams meet (Jan. 14), I’ll root for St. Rose.

I also wanted to point out an article most people may have missed on Delbarton’s 6-2 win over two-time defending Rhode Island state champion Bishop Hendricken.

I’ll be flying back to New Jersey for a brief holiday stay on Friday night, which means Saturday will probably be my only day of checking out N.J. hockey games this year. Any suggestions as to where I should go?

Thursday update
Just to explain several updates to various schedules … I’m told Hackettstown and Hudson Catholic had five players EACH given game disqualifications in their Dec. 17 game. That’s from one skirmish, in which I’m told no punches were thrown, and both coaches were baffled by the referees’ decision. It happened in the first period, and Hudson Catholic played the rest of the game with only six players, total.

Due to mandatory two-game suspensions (which will also yield state tournament ineligibility for both teams) for roughly half of its players, Hudson Catholic has chosen to forfeit its next two games: Friday against High Point and Sunday against Dumont. Assuming my schedules are up to date, that could save Dumont from playing on three consecutive days, which it should be noted is NOT legal. Dumont, Nutley, and Parsippany are all teams in danger of playing three games on three days at some point this month. This is a violation of NJSIAA rules and has, in the past, been punished with forfeits.

finals week

March 19, 2007 on 9:47 am | In game recap | 1 Comment

boy, this six days between games thing is kinda awkward, huh? Hopefully Mennen will be rocking to make up for it on Friday night.

I was filling in on Rice baseball broadcasts this weekend, so when I checked in late Saturday night, I was pretty surprised one of the hockey scores still wasn’t final. Must’ve been a crazy day. I enjoyed the quadruple-headers from back in the day when Mennen played at 4:15, 6:15, 8:15, and “9:45” on Saturday to avoid the NJSIAA’s rule that games could not be scheduled for a time that would project them to end after midnight. Guess that rule’s not too important anymore.

Sounds like an amazing day of hockey. Some controversial goals and some big performances but, most of all, close games! All four games sounded legit, two went to overtime, and we saw some upsets. Obviously, St. Augustine Prep and Bridgewater-Raritan deserve major props for knocking off the teams considered heavy favorites at the beginning of the year and, in the process, getting revenge on a rival (Ridge) and last year’s nemesis (Delbarton). I’m relatively familiar with all eight coaches in the semifinals, so I can legitimately say I’m happy for the winners – Rich McLaughlin I’ve known since I was 13, Patrick Alvin and Joe Maione I’ve met and emailed with for the last few years, and Tim Fingerhut I’ve talked to briefly this year about the Hermits’ schedules and whatnot – and empathetic for the losers – I’ve talked with Walt Keiper and Bruce Shatel a billion times over the past 10 years, and our rare meetings have still produced a ton of respect for Mike Reynolds and Tim Mullin.

That said, I wasn’t there, so here’s who was there and what they thought:

Randolph 2, Morris Knolls 1, OT:
Star-Ledger | Daily Record 1 | Daily Record 2

St. Augustine Prep 3, Delbarton 2, OT:
Star-Ledger | Courier Post | Daily Record 1 | Daily Record 2

Bridgewater-Raritan 4, Ridge 2:
Star-Ledger | Courier News

St. Peter’s Prep 2, CBA 0:
Star-Ledger | Asbury Park Press

Man, is it cold up here

December 28, 2006 on 2:50 am | In game recap | 2 Comments

Well, I got to see my first games of the season earlier today at the fourth annual Somerset County Tournament, and it was good to be back. I froze my butt off, of course, and struggled to hold book and notebook while leaning against the railing and peeking over heads at Bridgewater Sports Arena.

First, in other action, I have to give a shout-out to Hudson Catholic for winning its first game since December 10, 2004 with a 2-1 win over Demarest in the Ice House Tournament Wednesday. The Hawks had gone 46 games (0-43-3) without a win since beating Brick 9-3 in 2004, improving to 2-0 (believe it or not) on that young season. Congrats, fellas. I counted 15 other winless schools around the state, although somebody had to win the Bayonne-Monroe game yesterday, and we’re rooting for all of those teams to pick up a W as well.

As for my Wednesday at Bridgewater, I endured high school girls who do not understand the offside rule and a mother who yelled at her chosen team that “you’re playing like a bunch of girls!” I saw an old friend in Pingry head coach John Magadini, still using the same bucket for pucks he did with Delbarton back in 1982. No joke. And he is still as friendly and pleasant away from the bench as he is outspoken and competitive on it. I saw a terrific overtime contest between Pingry and Bridgewater-Raritan, and I saw Ridge don black jerseys as the home team, earning the first win in SCT history by a No. 1 seed. It was quite a day. Here’s how it went down (Warning: to make up for four weeks without covering a game, these are rather long):

Continue reading Man, is it cold up here…

round of 16 action

March 8, 2006 on 10:36 pm | In game recap | Comments Off on round of 16 action

MCSSIHL representation in the state tournaments was reduced to three Wednesday night, as 13th-seeded Clifton knocked off Chatham in the opening game at Mennen before Randolph rallied to crush Mountain Lakes 8-3.

NJSIAA Public round of 16: Clifton 3, Chatham 2
Although the game was held on Chatham’s home ice at Mennen Arena, Clifton seemed right at home. After all, the Mustangs pulled off one of the biggest upsets in state tournament history at Mennen Arena in 2001, and Clifton had a sizable advantage in terms of fans.

Chatham had a major advantage in terms of possession and chances in the opening stanza, but Chris Donini in the Clifton goal was up to the task. More importantly in terms of positioning itself for an upset, Clifton got the first goal. Against the run of play, Craig Junda won an offensive zone face-off and headed for the net, where he redirected a slap shot from standout forward Anthony Yelovich (how was he not Northern Red MVP, by the way?) through the legs of Chatham goalie James Stolfi. The Cougars drew level four minutes later on a nifty play by forward Jeff Chatterton. With a loose puck in the slot, Chatterton beat Donini’s pokecheck to the puck, flipped it into the air, and backhanded the puck out of mid-air behind the sprawling goalie.

Although Chatham started the second period on the power play, Clifton struck first nearly four minutes into the period. To nobody’s surprise, Yelovich was the architect, deking around two defensemen high in the right circle before backhanding a pass that left both defenseman and goalie stranded, setting up Junda for a high finish past Stolfi.

Stolfi, starting in place of the injured Michael Infante, made two saves to deny Clifton shorthanded chances in the middle of the period, diving to cut off Junda and stopping a sharp Yelovich shot. And after Chatham killed off Clifton’s first power play, the Cougars tied the game. The puck came off the end-boards to Chatterton parked to the left of the net, and he wristed a shot from a tight angle to beat Donini up high at the near post. Before anyone had caught their breath, however, Clifton responded with a goal from its second line, as Sean Yip’s shot from the left circle beat Stolfi up high for a 3-2 Clifton advantage. Just as in Chatham’s Mennen Cup semifinal win over Morris Knolls, a goal from either team’s second line was going to be a difference-maker, and you could tell from the Mustang celebrations they knew this one was key.

Chatham continued to try to wear down Clifton, skating its third line for regular shifts halfway into the third period, but Clifton seemed unaffected. Donini displayed great lateral movement to stop Mario Bronzino at the left post early in the period, but Chatham did not show true offensive initiative until the final minutes. Given a power play with 1:21 remaining, Chatham struggled to set up in the offensive zone and only pulled Stolfi with 22 seconds remaining, getting two shots before time expired.

Clifton advances to play Montgomery in the quarterfinals this weekend, again at Mennen Arena, and you have to give the Mustangs a decent chance at making some more Mennen magic.

Randolph 8, Mountain Lakes 3
The second game was the much anticipated rematch between Randolph and Mountain Lakes after a pair of tense one-goal battles earlier in the season. And it lived up to its billing for two periods before Randolph pulled away in the third.

Mountain Lakes came out feeding on adrenalin and emotion and had the lead within a minute, as Dan Lio stole the puck behind the net and fed a wide-open Nick Simone in the low slot, who one-timed it past a motionless Dan Diamond. Predictably, Randolph controlled much of the period and Lakes goalie Matt Lowell responded well to the pressure, holding onto the 1-0 lead.

With first-line forward Jacob Sutker’s shifts limited, Mountain Lakes was essentially rotating five forwards to Randolph’s ten. Yet the Lakers went on top 2-0 at the 9:13 mark when James Putney’s blue-line wrist shot hit Diamond’s pads and slowly trickled just over the goal line. Dan Swenson came off the Randolph bench to replace Diamond, but even he could not prevent the pumped-up Lakers from going ahead 3-0 late in the period. Putney stole the puck from a Randolph defenseman at the blue line and, with a 2-on-1 break, fed Lio for a breakaway. Swenson forced Lio wide, but the Lakers’ most dangerous offensive player kept his composure to get around Swenson and finish just inside the far post.

The ice cut could not have come at a better time for Randolph, and the Rams found their scoring touch in the second period, doing so (as usual) in front of their student fans. The first goal had an element of luck about it, as Rob Kral popped up in the slot to bang a shot that immediately deflected off a skate and shot through the legs of Lowell to make it 3-1. Probably the most important goal came at the 4:06 mark, as Ed Keenan fed Ryan Bannon in the right circle, and his wrist shot slipped through the legs of Lowell.

Lakes clung to its 3-2 lead through the middle of the period and was frustrated by penalty calls, with Randolph finally taking advantage on its fourth power play of the night. After a point shot by defenseman Kyle Krannich, the Rams converged on the net, and Ed Keenan finally slotted the third rebound past Lowell to tie the game. The Rams struck again less than a minute later, as captain Jason Kleinwaks found a streaking Greg DaSilva at the back post for an emotional tiebreaking goal.

Mountain Lakes trailed only 4-3 into the third period, but you had to be skeptical about its chances, given the lack of depth. And Randolph did not disappoint, as Kral sored with a perfect wrist shot less than three minutes into the period. Kral completed his hat trick late in the game, sandwiched between goals from Kleinwaks and Derek Ranger, as the Rams eliminated Mountain Lakes from the state tournament for the second consecutive season, once again by a five-goal margin. The Rams advance to a quarterfinal matchup with Indian Hills, whom they beat 6-1 during the regular season.

Clifton 3, Chatham 2


Cli 1 2 0 3
Cha 1 1 0 2


Cli 4  9 5 18
Cha 18  8 10 36

6:23 Cli #18 Craig Junda (#27 Anthony Yelovich)
10:33 Cha #12 Jeff Chatterton (#23 Pat Coyne)
3:40 Cli #18 Craig Junda (#27 Anthony Yelovich, #17 Maran Roszowski)
10:37 Cha #12 Jeff Chatterton (unassisted)
10:59 Cli #21 Sean Yip (#9 Oscar Jaramillo)

#30 Chris Donini (Cli) 36-34
#37 James Stolfi (Cha) 18-15

Power plays: Cli 0-1, Cha 0-3

Randolph 8, Mountain Lakes 3


ML  3 0 0 3
Ran 0 4 4 8


ML  8 5 4 17
Ran 14 14 15 43

0:46 ML #77 Nick Simone (#23 Dan Lio)
9:13 ML #9 James Putney (#44 Clint McDonough)
11:56 ML #23 Dan Lio (#9 James Putney)
1:44 Ran #9 Rob Kral (#29 Ryan Bannon)
4:06 Ran #29 Ryan Bannon (#16 Ed Keenan, #9 Rob Kral)
9:12 Ran (pp) #16 Ed Keenan (#29 Ryan Bannon, #21 Kyle Krannich)
10:03 Ran #26 Greg DaSilva (#25 Jason Kleinwaks)
2:53 Ran #9 Rob Kral (#29 Ryan Bannon)
6:52 Ran #25 Jason Kleinwaks (#11 Mike Turner)
10:59 Ran #9 Rob Kral (#29 Ryan Bannon, #16 Ed Keenan)
13:54 Ran (pp) #10 Derek Ranger (#25 Jason Kleinwaks)

#30 Matt Lowell (ML) 41-34
#15 Ray Reynolds (ML) 2-1
#1 Dan Diamond (Ran) 5-3
#31 Dan Swenson (Ran) 12-11

Power plays: ML 0-2, Ran 2-7

penultimate day of coverage

March 7, 2006 on 10:45 pm | In game recap | Comments Off on penultimate day of coverage

The biggest stories tonight came from the private tournament, where two more Gordon Conference teams were eliminated, leaving only half of the state’s top conference – the tournament’s top four seeds – still alive. Bishop Eustace beat St. Peter’s Prep for the second time this season, this time by a 6-3 margin thanks in part to 45 saves from Colin Saltiel. … CVC stalwart Notre Dame knocked off St. John Vianney for the second straight year, this time by a 5-1 score, as the Irish added two empty-net goals late. SJV has not won a state tournament game since 2003. Notre Dame is 0-6 all-time in private quarterfinals. … In the other private game of the day, Delbarton crushed Pingry 10-0 and will face St. Augustine Prep in the quarterfinals.

On the public side, NBIAL Division II champion Indian Hills beat Central Blue champion Hillsborough 4-1 at Aspen Ice in Flemington. The Braves are the second NBIAL team ever to reach the public quarterfinals, equaling Fair Lawn‘s feat of 2003 (before the NBIAL crowned a hockey champion). … The Cutters saw their own quarterfinal hopes fade against Central White champion Montgomery, as the Cougars pulled away for a 3-1 win.

NJSIAA Public Round of 16: Morris Knolls 9, Princeton 3
Defending public state champion Morris Knolls advanced to the quarterfinals with a 9-3 win over Princeton Tuesday. Although the Golden Eagles once again needed more than 20 saves from Josh Ofner, the issue was rarely in doubt, as Knolls outclassed the Little Tigers in finishing ability and goaltending.

Dan Duda set up Steven Jones for an early goal, and Tommy Tomensky added a power-play marker at the 8:20 mark. The game then turned late in the first period, as Tomensky fed Jones for a breakaway, and he was hauled down for a penalty shot. Jones easily converted with a backhand move around Princeton goalie Shane Leuck for a 3-0 lead. On Knolls’ next attack, Leuck covered for a face-off and gave Jones a quick, defensive jab as he came to the net, earning a stern word from one official. Within a minute, Duda sped past the Princeton defense and roofed a breakaway shot over Leuck for a 4-0 lead. Leuck, so instrumental to Princeton’s success, lost his cool and broke his stick on the goalpost, earning himself a ten-minute misconduct.

Knolls only got three shots in more than 10 minutes against backup Kristofer Bleach, but all found the net, and the Golden Eagles led 7-2 after two periods before cruising to a 9-3 win.

Duda, though he started on the blue line tonight, was the offensive architect, as he scored three goals and set up two others. His breakaway goal in the first minute of the second period was the most impressive, as he stepped up at the red line to steal the puck from John Ryan, beat three Little Tigers with a combination of speed and guile, and finished into the roof of the net over the diving pokecheck of Bleach. Jones scored four goals, three on his backhand, and Tomensky added two more for the final margin.

Morris Knolls 9, Princeton 3


Pri 0 2 1 3
MK  4 3 2 9


Pri 7 10 8 27
MK  12 8 12 32

3:27 MK #44 Steven Jones (#14 Dan Duda)
8:20 MK (pp) #41 Tommy Tomensky (#14 Dan Duda)
12:30 MK (ps) #44 Steven Jones
13:13 MK #14 Dan Duda (#44 Steven Jones, #10 Jimmy Timmins)
0:36 MK #14 Dan Duda (unassisted)
4:12 Pri #12 Peter Teifer (#6 Christian McCracken)
5:23 MK #14 Dan Duda (#40 Alex Clelland, #41 Tommy Tomensky)
5:39 MK #44 Steven Jones (#41 Tommy Tomensky, #7 Justin Lewandowski)
14:09 Pri #20 Sam Finnell (#12 Peter Teifer)
0:26 MK #44 Steven Jones (#17 Justin Lewandowski)
6:17 MK (pp) #41 Tommy Tomensky (unassisted)
14:05 Pri #18 John Ryan (#20 Sam Finnell)

#33 Shane Leuck (Pri) 29-23
#1 Kristofer Bleach (Pri) 3-0
#33 Josh Ofner (MK) 27-24

Power plays: Pri 0-3, MK 2-5

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