WAYNE, NJ — It may just be the dawning of a new era of high school hockey in New Jersey.
In their second attempt at their first meeting since the 2019 NJSIAA Final after last week’s Garden State snowstorm pushed it back, Don Bosco Prep executed a near mirror image gamescript as the Ironmen struck first, stayed disciplined, defensively, before adding an empty-netter in the final minute to seal another 3-1 decision over 13-time state champion Delbarton at The Ice Vault in Wayne.
Brendan Flaherty picked a great time to record his first-career Varsity goal as the junior defenseman broke the ice 12:14 into the action before Connor Sedlak doubled it 2:34 into the second frame on the power play as Don Bosco Prep jumped out to a 2-0 lead after two.
Trip Pendy brought Delbarton back to within one with 9:36 remaining in regulation and pressed for the equalizer taking a lead in shots on goal, but Don Bosco Prep never broke getting 23 saves from Ethan Marich and an empty-net goal from Sedlak with 36 seconds left resulting in another 3-1 outcome.
Don Bosco Prep defeated Delbarton by the same score, capturing its first state title in school history last March.
“It was a great step in the right direction, but it’s just one game and we need to continue to build on the momentum,” Sedlak, who notched his team-leading third and fourth goals of the season, said.
“First goal was on the power play. I got a great pass from Sal Guzzo to me on the halfwall. I walked it to the top then Hunter McGee had a great screen in front which let me get a shot on net without the goalie seeing it,” Sedlak said. “The second was a chip from Jake Geraci just inside the blue line. I saw that the net was empty and took a chance at it. I got lucky it went in.”
Don Bosco Prep improves to 3-0 with victories over Seton Hall Prep, St. Augustine and Delbarton, outscoring the opposition 12-1 over the brief stretch.
After shutting out St. Augustine the night before, coming back on short rest against the perennial state finalists was a concern for coach Greg Toskos.
“We really gutted it out tonight. Coming off a tough game against St. Augustine last night and the boys playing a lot of hockey and injured I am very proud of the way we handled the game tonight,” Toskos said.
“I thought our goaltending and our defense was excellent tonight. Some of our younger guys really put together a credible effort with lots of shots and making plays,” Toskos said. “Good to see Sedlak continue to score.”
After Pendy made it 2-1, Delbarton nearly got the game-tying goal from Alex Bosland with two minutes remaining but his shot rang off the crossbar.
“They have a really good team,” Delbarton coach Bruce Shatel said. “We’re so young, our objective was just to compete. But for a lot of the third period I think we outplayed them. Early on we were unsure of ourselves, we weren’t moving our feet, weren’t talking enough and making bad decisions with the puck… but I think we played pretty well the second half of the game. Bosland, a freshman, took a snapshot through traffic that rang the bell, hit the crossbar with two minutes left.
“We get a goal from another freshman in Trip Pendy, but my freshmen were also responsible for four minor penalties,” Shatel said. “They were emotional, naturally, because it was a pretty big game for early December, but it’s all we can ask for right now. We’re looking to make strides throughout the year.”
Delbarton drops to 1-2. After falling to Bergen Catholic in its season-opener, the Green Wave defeated Gloucester Catholic, 4-1, in its second set. Gloucester Catholic defeated Christian Brothers Academy, 4-1, tonight.
One thing is for certain, the tides are starting to turn. While it appears to be a wide open race in the heralded Gordon Conference, Don Bosco Prep is now the team to beat. The Ironmen will look to maintain its stanglehold on the road in another intraconference bout against CBA at Jersey Shore Arena in Wall on Wednesday.
3-1 win over Delbarton @SedlakConnor 🚨🚨🍎
Sal Guzzo 🍎
Troy Clement 🍎
@EthanMarich 🚧1st W#TK
@BoscoPride @IronmenAthletic @DonBoscoIronmen @VarsityAces @HealeyBrothers pic.twitter.com/ysuOOIiBEF
— Bosco Hockey (@DBIronmenHockey) December 10, 2019
1-0 DB Brendan Flaherty (Connor Sedlak) 2:46-1st
2-0 DB Connor Sedlak (Troy Clement, Sal Guzzo) 12:26-2nd PPG
2-1 D Trip Pendy (unassisted) 5:24-3rd
3-1 DB Connor Sedlak (Jake Geraci) :36-3rd ENG
Written by John Christian Hageny @JCCSPORTS
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