MORRIS TOWNSHIP — So you’re saying there’s a chance.
After falling in the last year’s finale and again in this year’s Gordon Cup final, top-seeded Don Bosco Prep left no doubt as Mickey Burns tallied two goals and three assists and Connor Sedlak added a goal and two assists while Max Schwarz turned aside all 21 shots he faced as the No. 1 team in the Hockey Night in Boston Top 10, executed a 7-0 triumph over fourth-seeded Gloucester Catholic in the semifinals of the NJSIAA Non-Public State Tournament at Mennen Arena in Morris Township.
With the victory, Don Bosco Prep books a return trip to the state finals and earns a shot at redemption.
“We came out flying, connected on the power play halfway through the first,” Burns, committed to the University of Vermont, said. “We struggled (with 79 shots in a 2-1 victory over Pope John) on Monday and wanted to show that was a lapse and definitely did. Everyone came out, got the legs going early and showed it on the scoreboard.”
John Campomenosi, Troy Clement, Tsubasa Konishi and Tyler Sedlak also scored for Don Bosco Prep, which out-shot Gloucester Catholic, 32-21, to improve to 27-1-1 this season. The Ramsey school will take on Delbarton in a rematch of the 2017 NJSIAA Non-Public final set for March 5 at Prudential Center in Newark and this time around it determined to re-write the script.
“The train was on the tracks and we were rolling. It felt good,” Don Bosco Prep coach Greg Toskos said. “Clearly we came with energy and put pucks in the net. And Max played brilliant in goal. He made a lot of big saves.”
In what was considered a possible weakness following the graduation of All-State goaltender Alexei Masanko after last season’s 2-1 loss to Delbarton in the 2017 State Final, Schwarz has stepped in, stepped up and performed admirably in between the pipes for the Ironmen.
“It’s always good when the boys score,” Schwarz, who recorded his fifth shutout this season, said. “There’s a lot of pressure there. It’s always good to get the shutout. Pretty happy about that.
“Feelings are running high right now. People said we weren’t going to be any good this year but we almost went undefeated,” Schwarz said. “Just that one loss to Delbarton in the (Gordon) Cup finals. But no matter who we play in the finals, we’re looking for the W for the program — first-ever.”
Winners of seven of its last 10 entering the semifinals, Gloucester Catholic sees its great run come to an end at 13-8-1.
“When you play Don Bosco you can’t make mistakes and every little mistake and every little penalty got to us,” Gloucester Catholic’s Carter Jones said.
“We had a great season,” the junior said. “Coming in we had high hopes. We’re trying to build this program and we expect to back next year better than ever and ready to go.”
At the end of the day, the ice belonged to Don Bosco Prep which is still chasing that ever-elusive first state title. One the most talented teams the Ironmen have ever assembled, the time is now for the Bergen County school.
“We just have to play our game,” Burns said. “Delbarton brought it to us in the Gordon final. They definitely outworked us and that’s something we just can’t have. It’s one thing to be out-skilled but it’s another to get out-worked. Come Monday whether we’re playing Delbarton or CBA we’re not going to get outworked.”
“It’s nice to get a couple extra at the end of the day here for some confidence heading into the finals,” Toskos said. “We scored some really nice tic-tac-toe goals here and we’re hoping for a repeat of that on Monday.”
Written by John Christian Hageny / @JCCSPORTS
Special to HockeyClan
Main Image: Gloucester Catholic goalie Matt Bidini keeps his eyes on the puck as ii bounces around in front of the net in the NJSIAA Non-Public semifinals at Mennen Arena in Morris Township on March 1, 2018. Don Bosco Prep prevailed, 7-0. (Tom Smith/TSPImages)
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