RANDOLPH — Despite building a one-goal advantage after the opening frame, Delbarton coach Bruce Shatel was looking for more from his club in the second stanza – and his players didn’t disappoint.
Max Williams delivered the decisive tally to highlight a three-goal outburst in the second period as Delbarton, No. 2 in the Hockey Night In Boston New Jersey Top 10, fashioned a dominant performance in forging a 5-2 victory over eighth-ranked St. Augustine Prep at Aspen Ice.
The decision extended Delbarton’s unbeaten streak to eight games and its overall record to 11-2-1. The triumph was also the 394th career victory for Shatel, extending Delbarton’s unbeaten streak over its South Jersey Gordon Conference rival to 19 games (17-0-2). St. Augustine’s last victory over Delbarton came on Feb. 22, 2010 in a 4-2 decision in the Gordon Cup semifinal round – the loss that snapped Delbarton’s state-record 42-game unbeaten streak.
St. Augustine is now 7-5-2 and saw an impressive six-game unbeaten streak (4-0-2) of its own come to a halt.
It appeared to be set for another tight-checking contest between the two teams, which battled to a scoreless tie just four days ago on Jan. 12, but all that changed in the second period.
Williams, a junior forward, disengaged from his check and shoveled a rebound past St. Augustine goalie Ben Sheehan (30 saves) at 8:52 of the second as Delbarton snapped a 2-2 game. The tally came off pressure in the offensive zone for Delbarton, which wired 18 shots on the St. Augustine net while allowing just one in the second period.
“They were trying to break out and we got a nice intercept,” said Williams. “We got it and kicked it to the point to Jalen Kaplan. He got a great low shot on goal and I was able to put in the rebound. We got a lot of momentum the rest of the way and got pucks deep on them.”
Delbarton elevated its play even more after snapping the tie and put the South Jersey school on its heels after Nick Siffringer struck for a power-play goal with 1:41 left before Michael Balzarotti buried a rebound at even strength with just 15 seconds left to extend the lead to 5-2 with one period to go.
“We made some mistakes in the first period but our guys responded,” said Shatel, who improved to 394-48-36 overall. “Our guys needed to pick up the fore-check a lot and they did. They put pucks on net and we really needed a period like that. Our energy and compete level were elevated a lot more in the second. We were committed to putting pucks deep and attacking.”
A dynamic that St. Augustine coach Tim Fingerhut was aware his club needed to cognizant of.
“We knew they would pressure our D every chance they got and crash the net,” Fingerhut said. “We had a good first period and were down by a goal but that second period was tough. We committed a couple of mistakes in our end that led to goals. We gave Delbarton too much time and space in the second and we weren’t aggressive enough on the offensive side. You give Delbarton that much ice to make plays with their speed and you’re in trouble. We had one bad period and it cost us.”
Delbarton, which outshot St. Augustine 35-19 overall, held the 2-1 lead before Cameron Briere snapped in a shot glove-side from the slot at 7:07 of the second to square it at two.
The goal came on the Hermits’ only shot of the second period against Delbarton goalie Kenny Burgess (17 saves).
The first period was as expected from these two clubs, a swift pace with physical play, as Delbarton held a 10-8 advantage in shots.
Brendan Clark gave Delbarton a 1-0 lead off assists from Siffringer and Andrew Boasland at 6:32. Less than three minutes later, Julian Boisclair got the equalizer for the Hermits with a stuff-in near the right post for a power-play goal.
James Falivene restored Delbarton’s lead with 4:27 left in the first with an even strength goal on assists from Balzarotti and Nick Hahn.
“It was off a dump-in and we got in on the puck quickly and got it to the middle,” said Favilene, a junior forward. “We were able to get pucks out of the corners and we didn’t take many penalties. We might not be the most skilled team, but we always focus on skating and working hard. That’s what defines us.”
What defined this contest in the end was the scoring outburst second period.
“If you take a period off against Delbarton they are going to make you pay for it,” said St. Augustine senior defenseman Jared Hannah.
“In the first period we were pretty solid and we kept them wide for the most part,” Hannah said. “Delbarton likes to stretch the ice and they did in the second. They played their game and we didn’t.”
Written by Paul Bruno / @PaulBrunoHS
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