Bergen Catholic Bounces Seton Hall Prep, 5-3, in Gordon Cup First Round

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HACKENSACK, NJ — Nick Stoebling put on an offensive show at The Ice House on Monday afternoon, and the gifted display enabled Bergen Catholic to advance to the semifinal round of the 62nd Gordon Cup.

The 5-10, 165-pound senior featured a nifty shot, flashed his speed and finished with four goals while Nicholas Wallace collected three assists and Nicholas Chiurazzi picked up two sending third-seeded Bergen Catholic, No. 1 in the Hockey Night In Boston New Jersey Top 10, to a 5-3 victory over sixth-seeded and fifth-ranked Seton Hall Prep in the quarterfinals of the Gordon Cup.

Bergen Catholic improved to 17-3 and will square off against No. 2 and second-seeded Christian Brothers Academy in the semifinals. The Oradell school is seeking its first Gordon Cup championship since claiming the prized trophy in 2004.

Seton Hall (9-12-2), which finished with a 30-22 shot advantage in this contest, was seeking its first Gordon Cup victory over Bergen Catholic since it claimed a 5-1 verdict in the 2007 opening round. Bergen Catholic has now won three straight Gordon Cup meetings against Seton Hall, including a 4-3 victory in 2014 and a 5-2 decision in 2015.

Seton Hall’s last Gordon Cup victory came against Bishop Eustace, 4-1, in 2011.

In the last meeting Bergen Catholic edged Seton Hall, 4-3, on Feb. 3, a contest that saw the Pirates outshoot Bergen by a 24-18 margin, but this version was pretty much decided with a pair of rapid-fire goals by Stoebling to open the third period extending Bergen Catholic’s advantage to 5-1.

Just 11 seconds after the opening faceoff of the third, Stoebling buried a rebound off an initial shot by linemate Chiurazzi for a 4-1 advantage.

“We won the draw and Chiurazzi got the puck and I was screaming at him to put it on net,” said Stoebling, who has 13 goals this winter. “He had a great far side low-pad shot and the rebound was just sitting there for me and I basically had a wide-open net.”

Before that goal was even announced Stoebling finished a nifty 2-on-1 with Chiurazzi, who saucered a neat cross-slot pass, that Stoebling easily shoveled home for a 5-1 lead.

The two goals in 31 seconds proved too much for the Essex County team to overcome.

“We gave up two odd-man rushes in the opening 30 seconds and they put them in the net,” Seton Hall coach Mike Atkinson said. “Stoebling, you have to tip your hat to him. He made some great shots but his opening goal in the third period to put us down 4-1 was a killer for us. If you take off for 30 or 45 seconds against a team like Bergen Catholic, you’re going to pay for it.

“We felt confident going into the third even though were sitting at a 3-1 deficit,” Atkinson said. “We didn’t stop playing but it just wasn’t enough in the end. That opening 30 seconds of the third was pretty much the difference.”

Seton Hall responded 25 seconds later with the first of two goals from freshman forward Thomas Klochkov to cut the deficit to 5-2, but the damage had been done.

Related: 2020 Gordon Cup Preview and Tournament History

“Going into the third we knew it was still a game even though we were up, 3-1,” said Stoebling, who has 13 goals this winter. “Seton Hall is a very good third-period team and we felt like we really needed to come out and try to bury them early; and we couldn’t have asked for a better start to the period.”

Atkinson pulled goalie Jake Schunke (17 saves) with 2:50 on the clock for the extra man, which resulted in Klochkov’s second tally with 1:17 remaining to slice the deficit to 5-3.

“All year we’ve played hard and created chances, but we’ve struggled for goals,” said Atkinson. “We haven’t been able to finish at times but I’m proud of our effort today. We never quit and now we have to focus on the state tournament.”

Related: Bergen Catholic Captures First-Ever County Title

Stoebling snapped a 1-1 tie in the second period when he gathered a stretch pass at center ice, sped over the blue line and snapped a rising shot blocker-side to give Bergen Catholic the lead for good with 5:27 left. Wallace and Antonio Arcaroli assisted on the goal.

Stoebling struck again with 2:33 remaining in the second, cutting around a Seton Hall defenseman and across the crease before stuffing the puck inside the right post, just eluding a diving Schunke for a 3-1 advantage.

“It’s the first round of the Gordon Cup and we needed to make a statement,” said Chiurazzi, a senior forward. “The two goals we got to start the third were huge. It opened the flood gates a little and we rode that momentum the rest of the period. It was a huge win for us. Seton Hall’s a good team but we played well. Nick (Stoebling) and I have a lot of chemistry together and I think it showed today. The type of game he had today is what I expect from him. Whoever we play next we are just looking to get the job done.”

Aram Minnetian scored his 21st goal this season with the man-advantage with just 14 seconds left in the first period to give Bergen Catholic a 1-0 lead.

Seton Hall answered with a power-play goal of its own, this one coming off the stick of sophomore forward Patrick Zincone 3:07 into the second period to square the game at one.

Brendan McCaskey was solid in finishing with 27 saves for Bergen Catholic.

“We knew Seton Hall would come out and play hard and they did,” said Bergen Catholic assistant coach Angelo Serse. “They’re a good team and I think there were parts of the game that we got outworked. I think our skill helped us out today we knew that the fourth goal and fifth in the third period would be huge and it was. Nick Stoebling is playing really well, and his shots were perfectly placed and perfectly timed today. He’s really been focusing and been a leader in the room who’s really stepped up.

“Our next game in the Gordon Cup will be huge. We want to prove that we are the top team in the state.”


1-0 BC Aram Minnetian (Nicholas Wallace, Jake Antonucci) :14-1st PPG

1-1 SH Patrick Zincone (Aidan D’Uso, Harrison Rocheville) 11:52-2nd PPG

2-1 BC Nick Stoebling (Nicholas Wallace, Antonio Arcaroli) 5:27-2nd

3-1 BC Nick Stoebling (Brenden Kelly) 2:33-2nd

4-1 BC Nick Stoebling (Nicholas Chiurazzi, Nicholas Wallace) 14:49-3rd

5-1 BC Nick Stoebling (Antonio Arcaroli, Nicholas Chiurazzi) 14:31-3rd

5-2 SH Thomas Klochkov (Jack Schneider) 14:06-3rd

5-3 SH Thomas Klochkov (Kyle Bishop) 1:17-3rd

Shots: 30-22 SH; Brendan McCaskey, BC, 30 saves; Jake Schunke, SH, 25 saves


Written by Paul Bruno @PaulBrunoHS

Special to HockeyClan



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