Gloucester Catholic Pulls 6-3 Upset Over Delbarton in Gordon Cup First Round

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RANDOLPH, NJ — It’s not how many times you fall, it’s how many times you get back up.

Gloucester Catholic had never beaten Delbarton before — but there’s a first time for everything.

Nursing a one-goal lead while trying to kill off the remainder of a five-minute major late the first period, Jake Grace wasn’t looking to make a play — it just worked out that way.

“I wasn’t looking to skate all the way down the ice, but when I saw they lost the puck I saw this opportunity with all this ice in front of me,” Grace said. “I was just skating hard, driving the net hard and I got a good pass from my teammate, Matthew Frett. I just focused on getting it on net and slid it five-hole.”

Grace’s shorthanded goal, minutes after Delbarton capitalized on the power play, proved to be the turning point of the game as fifth-seeded Gloucester Catholic, upset the fourth-seed and 13-time NJSIAA state champions, 6-3, for the first time in team history in the quarterfinals of the Gordon Cup at Aspen Ice.

(Photo by Mark Carosiello/HockeyClan)

“All I could do to give us the lead — that’s what happened — it’s huge,” Grace said. “It just shows the depth we have on this team. We’ve had superstars, but now we have the most complete team we’ve ever had and it’s showing out there on the ice.”

“First time ever in the history of this school,” Gloucester Catholic coach Guy Gaudreau said with a laugh. “We’ve had some pretty good teams way back when my kids played. We’ve had some good games with them. We’ve had ’em here a couple of times before– one time (we’re up) 5-2 and they came back and beat us 6-5 — so I was like guys, ‘This is not over.'”

Grace’s shorty sent Gloucester Catholic (9-5-4) to the locker room with a 3-1 lead. True to Gaudreau’s word, Delbarton (9-9-3) battled back, but in response to a Rams goal each time.

(Photo by Mark Carosiello/HockeyClan)

Freshman Chris Pelosi extended the Rams’ lead to 4-1, but Brendan Clark answered in the second. Grace hit again in the third, but once again the Green Wave answered, this time off the stick of Kayetan Berezniak to make it 5-3 with 5:02 remaining in regulation.

“We came out hard and fast,” Pelosi, who scored twice, said. “We’re playing more physical than we were at the beginning of the season. We went up 1-0, went up 2-0, but the five-minute major brought us down a little. We just battled hard through, physically and mentally, and got it deep.”

With the Delbarton goalie pulled in favour of an extra attacker in the waning moments, Pelosi put an end to the rally with his empty-netter with 1:30 to go and the celebration was on.

“That was game right there,” Gaudreau said of Grace’s shorthanded goal during the five-minute major. “If they make it 2-2 they’re right back in the game, but we make it 3-1 and run the table the rest of the way. They got caught trying to put too much pressure on and turned it over.”

Jake Grace and Chris Pelosi each scored twice and Matt Frett added a goal and two assists as Gloucester Catholic defeated Delbarton for the first time in team history, 6-3, in the quarterfinals of the Gordon Cup at Aspen Ice in Randolph on Feb. 17, 2020. (Photo by Mark Carosiello/HockeyClan)

Delbarton coach Bruce Shatel concurred.

“That was definitely a big moment in the game,” Shatel said. “When we don’t even it with three minutes left on the power play and we give up a short… we were playing catch-up thereafter.

“To Gloucester’s credit, they were extremely opportunistic. They capitalized on their 2-on-1’s — we gave up way too many 2-on-1’s — and we were undisciplined. But to their credit they buried the puck. It was just too much for us to even it. Hopefully, we’ll regroup and get another chance at them (in the NJSIAA tournament).”

Chris Liscio stood tall making 23 saves in between the pipes to preserve the win for Gloucester Catholic. (Photo by Mark Carosiello/HockeyClan)

Brendan Clark scored twice for Delbarton. Chase Pirtle assisted on both goals.

“It’s a tough bounce for us. We have to be better on the power play. We can’t let pucks go in the back of our net,” Clark said.

“The goal was a big one. We had a lot of energy on the bench, but they put the next one in to go up 3-1,” Clark said. “We can’t let that happen. We have an amazing program here. It’s a winning tradition, but they wanted it more than us today. We’re going to work on it. We’ll be ready for the state playoffs when the time calls.”

Gloucester Catholic advances to take on top-seeded and defending NJSIAA champion Don Bosco Prep in the Gordon Cup semifinals. Marching to the beat of his drum, Gaudreau, who made a successful return behind the bench after a two-year layoff, will have his team ready.

“We have a good group of kids, young — very young,” Gaudreau said. “We talked about pucks deep, a 1-2-2 (defensive system) and make them come to us — We can’t make mistakes.”

Related: 2020 Gordon Cup Preview and Tournament History

(Photo by Mark Carosiello/HockeyClan)

Gaudreau said the ability to roll four lines was the difference in this tilt.

“We’ve never beat ’em — they’re just deeper than us,” Gaudreau said. “We’ve always had to run two lines, three lines, but this is a team I can run four lines and if I shorten it up the last eight minutes they’re all fresh ready to go. It’s really nice to have that luxury — then you have a chance to win hockey games — but if you’re running only two lines the whole game and you’re not ahead you’re in trouble.”

“It’s an amazing feeling,” Pelosi said of being part of the first Gloucester Catholic team to beat Delbarton. “It’s nice to have that title.”

Related: South Jersey Clash of the Titans! Garozzo Eyes Gaudreau’ School Record

(Photo by Mark Carosiello/HockeyClan)

Scoring

1-0 GC Connor Milliken (Chris Pelosi) 13:07-1st

2-0 GC Matthew Frett (Dylan Koski) 8:33-1st

2-1 DB Brendan Clark (Chase Pirtle) 6:44-1st PPG

3-1 GC Jake Grace (Matthew Frett, Jason Player) 2:50-1st SHG

4-1 GC Chris Pelosi (unassisted) 13:31-2nd

4-2 DB Brendan Clark (Chase Pirtle) 8:12-2nd

5-2 GC Jake Grace (Matthew Frett) 6:59-3rd

5-3 DB Kayetan Berezniak (Brendan Clark, Ben Conrod) 5:02-3rd

6-3 GC Chris Pelosi (Connor Milliken) 1:30-3rd ENG

Shots: 31-26 Gloucester Catholic; Christopher Liscio, GC, 23 saves; Brett Cleaves, DB, 25 saves

 

Written by John Christian Hageny  @JCCSPORTS 

Special to HockeyClan

 

Photos by Mark Carosiello  @SnapthePicture6

 

 

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