MORRIS TOWNSHIP – After falling short in the state title bout a season ago, Glen Rock made it count its second time around.
Peter Cassidy, Jake Kinney and Eddie Corvelli each scored twice while Ryan McAuley made 22 saves as Glen Rock returned to the state finals and hoisted the hardware as the top-seeded team in the tournament delivered a sound 8-1 triumph over 10th-seeded Wall Township at the NJSIAA/New Jersey Devils Public B State Championships at Mennen Arena in Morris Township.
The triumph marked Glen Rock’s first state title in school history.
“We were talking all weekend, saying that we were not going to be denied,” Glen Rock first-year coach Anthony Yelovich said. “No matter what the scoreboard says, we had a plan in mind and we wanted to keep attacking. I didn’t expect this my first year, but it’s a tribute to how hard these guys have worked.”
Glen Rock’s relentless attack got rolling late in the opening period when Peter Cassidy one-timed a John LaMacchia pass to the back of twine, beating Wall’s sophomore keeper Logan Beattie on his 21st of the season. Eddie Corvelli and Matt Maselli followed up with first-period goals of their own to make it a 3-0 game at the first ice cut.
“On that play, my linemates John LaMacchia and Matt Maselli got in on a great forecheck and I was just fortunate enough to get enough on the shot from the slot and tap it home,” Cassidy said. “I didn’t expect it would be the first of eight goals, but I knew if we played our best there’s nobody that could hang with us. We’re the best public team in the state and we showed it tonight.”
LaMacchia and Cassidy connected again at 10:20 of the second period, making it a four-goal advantage for the Panthers. Glen Rock tacked on two more before the end of the frame including Colin Morrow’s sixth of the year and a power-play marker by Kinney to make it 6-0 at the second intermission.
Kinney assisted on Corvelli’s second of the night and 17th of the year just three minutes into the third period before Robert Fenton chipped another home to round out the Panthers’ scoring in the title victory.
“We had to compete every shift,” Kinney, Glen Rock’s senior captain, who finished with a goal and three assists, said. “Wall is a great team. We knew they had a lot of great offensive weapons and that they could come back at any time. So we had to compete from start to finish.”
Kinney closed out his final scholastic campaign with a club-best 60 points en route to the first state championship in program history for Glen Rock (22-3-4).
“It’s hard to describe how this feels right now,” Kinney added. “There really aren’t many words to use. It’s an incredible feeling to have accomplished this with this great group of guys. We have a great coaching staff who helped prepare us well for every game. To celebrate this with all of them is just amazing.”
Wall Township (18-7-2) got its lone goal of the game at 8:28 of the third period as Colin Gabuzda finished the play started by Noah Lozano.
The sophomore is part of a strong core set to return to the Knights’ program next year – a group that includes Zach Tarantino, Ryan Burns and Larry Hooper, defenseman Bobby Seelinger and Beattie between the pipes – allowing Wall coach Mike Dianora to look fondly upon the future of his club and speak proudly of all it accomplished on the way to its first state-final appearance in its 16-year history.
“This team will always have a special place in my heart,” Dianora said. “Nobody gave us a chance this year. We started to turn some heads at the end and still nobody gave us a chance to get here. So you know what, I’m not looking at the scoreboard tonight. I’m looking at what we’ve done collectively and I’ll take that any day of the week.”
“If you look back, Glen Rock was the team that got beat up in the finals pretty good last year and they came back and won it this time around,” Dianora added. “We’re losing some great guys and I’m going to miss them a lot, and they’ll always have a place in this program, but we’re retaining a lot of guys too. This will keep them hungry for next year.”