WAYNE, NJ — Don Bosco Prep celebrated before its season-opening match against Seton Hall Prep by raising the 2019 NJSIAA Championship banner — the first in program history — high to the rafters.
Then the Ironmen, No. 1 in the Hockey Night In Boston New Jersey Top 10, picked up right where they left off with a dominating effort from the drop of the puck, forging a 6-0 victory over the ninth-ranked Pirates at The Ice Vault in Wayne.
Connor Sedlak finished with four points on two goals and two assists, Kevin Rose halted all 23 shots he faced and the Ironmen struck for a pair of shorthanded tallies to extend their unbeaten streak to 24 games. The Bergen County power hasn’t lost since a 3-2 setback to No. 3 Christian Brothers Academy on Dec. 5, 2018.
“There was a lot of excitement with the banner raising,” said Don Bosco coach Greg Toskos.
“The players really enjoyed that. We’d never done that before since it was our first state championship. We had a lot of alumni here and the place was packed. We graduated 10 skaters and have 12 new players so we’re a new team in many respects.”
Don Bosco, 27-1 last season, outshot Seton Hall Prep, 11-2, in a mostly even period despite the shot differential, but used a late goal to open a 1-0 advantage.
Ryan Fine snapped a scoreless tie when the freshman struck for his first varsity goal with just 29.7 seconds remaining with assists from Sedlak and Michael Rubin.
“The bench energy was something that we emphasized before the game,” said Sedlak. “But the first goal was a confidence-booster. Seeing Ryan Fine scoring the first of the year for us — and his first-career goal — was an exciting moment for the whole team. After that the bench was as loud and energetic as we were emphasizing before the game.”
The Pirates, 14-9-3 last winter (the club’s most wins since 2009), went on the power play in the second period still trailing by just one before Don Bosco delivered a momentum-squashing goal when Liam Heffernan connected for a shorthanded tally from Matt Imbriano with 9:07 left in second to extend the lead to 2-0.
Sal Guzzo popped in an even-strength goal just 1:02 later to make it a 3-0 margin for the Ironmen with Fine and Sedlak drawing assists.
It was a deficit the Pirates could not overcome. Seton Hall, which made the jump up this season to the Gordon Conference American Division, was looking to secure its first victory over Don Bosco since grabbing a 4-2 verdict on Feb. 6, 2010 but the night belonged to the Ironmen.
Related: Don Bosco Prep Captures Gordon Cup
“I saw some good things from our club,” said Seton Hall coach Mike Atkinson, whose team pressed harder in the third, outshooting the Ironmen 15-9 in the final frame.
“Even though we only put two shots on net in the first I thought we played a really strong period. They got that late goal with 29 seconds left and that definitely gave them momentum going into the second period,” Atkinson said. “We still have some growing pains… we will see Don Bosco again.”
Don Bosco, which finished with a 27-23 overall edge in shots, struck for three more in the final period as Sedlak hit twice and Troy Clement closed out the scoring with his team’s second shorthanded goal of the evening.
“I think Seton hall Prep played very well,” Toskos said. “I don’t think the final score was indicative of the overall game, but we’ll definitely take the win. I think the goal by Ryan Fine at the end of the first period and the shorthanded goal to put us up 2-0 really changed momentum of the game.”
— Ironmen Athletics (@IronmenAthletic) November 30, 2019
Welcome back Bosco Hockey!
Home Opener-Tonight 6pm
vs Seton Hall Prep
At the Ice Vault #TK
— Bosco Hockey (@DBIronmenHockey) November 29, 2019
1-0 Don Bosco: Ryan Fine from Connor Sedlak and Michael Rubin even strength 29.7 left in first
2-0 Don Bosco Liam Heffernan shorthanded from Matt Imbriano 9:07 left in second
3-0 Don Bosco Sal Guzzo even strength from Ryan Fine and Connor Sedlak 8:05 left in second.
4-0 Don Bosco Connor Sedlak from Will Fortescue and Brendan Flaherty even strength with 7:39 left.
5-0 Don Bosco Connor Sedlak from Ryan Fine even strength 6:28 left
6-0 Don Bosco Troy Clemente from Brendan Flaherty shorty strength 2:59 left.
FINAL SHOTS: Don Bosco 27, Seton Hall Prep 23
Written by Paul Bruno / @PaulBrunoHS
Special to HockeyClan
Photos by Mark Carosiello / @SnapthePicture6
HockeyClan continues to upgrade its apps to benefit their growing hockey community.
Want to write about hockey? Join the HockeyClan community! While you are here visiting Rate Rinks! You can rate every rink you have ever been to based on the most important criteria. Interested in doing your own Player’s Blog? Send your hockey story to us at firstname.lastname@example.org