WEST ORANGE — Welcome my son. Welcome to the machine.
Andrew Bosland scored twice, Jack Malone tallied a goal and two assists while Troy Kobryn turned aside all 10 shots he faced as top-seeded Delbarton, No. 1 in The New Jersey Private Schools Top 10, systematically dismantled second-seed and No. 2 Pope John, 5-0, in the final of the 59th annual Gordon Cup at Codey Arena in West Orange.
Delbarton seized momentum from the drop of the puck on a Nick Siffringer goal 2:36 into the game and the Morris Township school never looked back en route to its seventh Gordon Cup in school history in convincing fashion.
“Started off well, getting that first one right off the bat and we just built off that,” Malone said. “I was able to get a goal and a couple assists but I wouldn’t have been able to get it done without my two linemates Mark Benemerito, Jalen Kaplan and Andrew Bosland and our backbone in net Troy Kobryn. We were able to play well on this night and get the win.”
The triumph marked Delbarton’s sixth Gordon Cup in the last 10 years. The oldest tournament in the state beginning in 1959, the nine-time NJSIAA champions are peaking at exactly the right time with the state championships on the horizon.
Out-shooting Pope John 25-4 and blessed with a 3-0 lead after two periods of play, Mark Benemerito’s 17th goal of the season, with 4:24 remaining, ended any rally Pope John started to muster in the third. Bosland added his second goal of the game and 15th of the season just 2:55 later to cap the scoring.
“They’re a very strong team. They just wore us down,” Pope John coach Ryan Brown said. “They got pucks deep, fore-checked well and we turned the puck over. I think we were a little nervous and made some uncharacteristic mistakes. They have a lot of talent on that team. Hats off to them, they deserve it tonight but we’ll get back here and hopefully get another chance to play these guys.”
The title held extra special meaning for Bosland who was injured the last time Delbarton skated for the Gordon Cup — a 3-1 loss to Christian Brothers on the very same ice surface in 2016.
“We don’t look past anyone,” Bosland said. “We cycled, worked hard the whole game, played the body and found a way to put a few home. I was injured last year so I’ve always wanted this. We lost last year so it feels good to get it done this year.”
“We wanted to bounce back after last year losing to CBA, that was a tough one, but it felt really good to win today and we’re just going to keep building off that,” Malone added. “It feels really good. It’s a huge confidence booster for us going into the state tournament coming up.”
In its only previous meeting earlier this season, Delbarton and Pope John skated to a 4-4 tie on January 17. This time around, however, Delbarton left no doubt.
“It was a great game, the guys came out flying and we executed our game plan,” Kobryn, who stood tall with 10 saves to record his eighth shutout of the season, said. “We played sound defensively and kept everything to the outside. After last year, it feels really great to come out and get the win.”
Delbarton improves to 23-1-2 this season and will set its sights on a 10th NJSIAA title. The top seed in the tournament, it receives a first-round bye before taking on the winner of Pingry/Montclair Kimberley.
Pope John falls for just the second time in its most successful season in school history to enter the state tournament 18-2-3. Seeded second, it also has a bye in the first round and awaits the winner of Notre Dame-St. Rose/Donovan Catholic.
“I kept doing what I’m doing, making stops, trying to keep us in it hoping maybe we’d get a lucky goal,” Pope John sophomore goalie Matt Schoer, who finished with 38 saves, said. “They are a hard forechecking team, got to rebounds, screened me, did everything they could to put the puck in the net.
“It’s not the best we’ve played. We know we can play a lot better,” Schoer added. “Once we get our team back, we’re going to come back and beat these guys and win states.”