WEST ORANGE, NJ — Seton Hall Prep honored its seniors on the ice Friday, but it was a pair of freshmen who delivered the offensive punch.
Freshmen forwards Patrick Zincone and Mark Gall each finished with two goals and junior forward Alex Kuhtik added a goal and an assist to send Seton Hall, No. 5 in the Hockey Night in Boston New Jersey Top 10, to an impressive 7-2 victory over Hun at at Codey Arena in West Orange.
“Gall has only played in three or four games,” said Seton Hall coach Mike Atkinson. “We told them to keep it simple and they did that today. Gall came away with that first goal right in front of the net and that really got us fired up. We were laughing after the game that on Senior Night it was our freshmen that carried us. It was a very good game for us. It was great to get the win today, especially against a team like Hun. They are very good. We kicked it into another gear.”
Hun (9-6), which edged Seton Hall last season, 4-3, on this date (Jan. 11, 2018), took a 1-0 lead on a shorthanded goal by Felix Turcotte with 2:31 remaining in the first period.
But Gall swung the momentum back in Seton Hall’s favor when he broke free from a check in the slot and slammed home a feed from J.P. Foley with 8:04 left in the second to square it at 1-1. Gall’s tally ignited a four-goal Pirate outburst.
After Hun’s Eddie Evaldi rang a shot off the post with 3:58 left in the second, Seton Hall (10-5-1) responded when Zincone stole a loose puck just outside the Hun blue line. The freshmen sped in and went five-hole for an unassisted tally that gave the Pirates a 2-1 lead for good with 2:55 left in the second.
“We talked after the first period about knowing that we were better than this,” said Zincone. “We wanted to keep coming and we got the two goals and built on our momentum. We had a tough loss the other day to St. Peter’s so we knew we had to come back with a strong response.”
Indeed, Seton Hall was stunned by St. Peter’s 5-3 on Jan. 9 – the second time it has lost to the Jersey City school this season.
“We were fired up,” said Atkinson. “Our freshmen played great and were some of the best kids on the ice today for us. They were awesome and (freshman) Jake Schunke (18 saves) played great in goal. We were flat against St. Peter’s. Every minute counts in hockey and we went down today early 1-0 but our guys buckled their chin straps and they got going pretty well after that. I thought we played great.”
The Pirates struck for a pair of goals 2:32 apart early in the third as Kuhtik scored on a wraparound and Sal Micciche knocked in a rebound off a scramble to extend the lead to 4-2.
“Being a freshman on this team is a really big honor,” said Gall, who finished the scoring when he connected off an offensive zone draw with 57 seconds left. “It’s amazing that we get ice time. All the boys in the locker room were saying that the freshmen took the show after the game but I don’t think that’s the case. Everybody put their best effort in today.”
Ryan Rodrigues, a sophomore forward, also scored for Seton Hall.
Hun, which was out-shot 33-20 overall, was coming off a tough 6-0 loss to Wyoming Seminary of Pa., a setback that had halted a six-game winning streak.
“We had good energy at the start and we got pucks deep and got the lead but we came up short,” said Hun senior forward Brian Nelson, who scored with 10:44 left to cut his club’s deficit to 4-2. “They worked and had some dirty goals. They outworked us a bit. It just wasn’t enough today, but that happens.”
The game was physical but clean with each team being whistled in the end for just one minor penalty each.
“We got that shorthanded goal and things were looking good in the first,” said Hun coach Ian McNally. “We kind of ran out of steam but we were doing well after the first. I thought we played really hard. Unfortunately at the end of the game you look up and it’s 7-2.”
Written by Paul Bruno / @PaulBrunoHS
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