BRIDGEWATER, NJ — The Big Blue Express was on full steam as it continued to roll on down the hockey tracks Friday.
Eric Bush registered a hat trick and collected two assists, Joe Faccone hit for three goals and Ryan Bush finished with a goal and three assists to power Pingry, No. 9 in the Hockey Night in Boston New Jersey Top 10, to an 11-1 victory over Bernard’s at the Sports Arena in Bridgewater.
Jared Kordonsky, Lachlan Gibson, Daniel Schnack and James Cummings each added a goal for Pingry (11-0), which improved to 11-0 this winter. It marked the second straight victory in as many days for the Big Blue over Bernards (2-8). Pingry skated to a 9-1 victory on Jan. 3. All 12 goals on Friday were scored at even strength.
For Faccone, it’s pretty easy to determine the main reason behind Pingry’s unbeaten run to date.
“I think our hard work in practice is really where we get jelling as a team,” said the junior forward, who has 15 goals thus far. “That work has really paid off for us. We always want to come out hard and play every game like it’s our last. We’ve got this unbeaten streak and we want to keep it alive. That’s been the key to our success.”
So was the strong start for Pingry, which struck for three goals while putting 16 shots on Bernards goalie Andrew O’Donnell (46 saves) in the first period.
Kordonsky got things going when he scored off assists from Ryan Bush and Jack Myers 3:12 after the opening faceoff to give Pingry a 1-0 lead. Eric Bush and Faccone then both hit net before the first ended and Pingry was on its way.
“I think this season has been great so far and everyone has been producing,” said Eric Bush, who skates on a line with Kordonsky and older brother Ryan, a junior. “We’ve been together the whole season and we’ve really clicked. We move the puck well and we all seem to be able to finish. Once we got our feet going we put up a bunch of goals. We take every game seriously and we are clicking really well right now.”
Despite the deficit Bernards did not yield and was able to generate several opportunities on a pair of power plays early in the second period. But Pingry goalie Jake Friedman turned aside shots by Alex Farmer and Nick Emmons.
Seconds after the second power play expired Eric Bush scored his second goal on assists from brother Ryan and Kordonsky with 10:17 left in the second to make it 4-0.
The Mountaineers, undermanned five players due to injury and illness, finished with eight official shots on the score sheet but they were able to throw several more attempts on goal, which were either blocked or wide.
“Our kids battled and played hard,” said Bernards coach Joseph Bennett. “That fourth goal took the wind out of our sails. Pingry has more depth than we do and have skilled players through three lines. It’s a real tough match-up for us. They are a real challenge because of their depth and skill.”
Farmer thwarted the shutout bid and scored an unassisted goal for Bernards with 7:32 left in the third.
Pingry coach Scott Garrow has been as impressed with his club’s determination as its scoring prowess through 11 games.
“I think they come every game to play,” Garrow said. “It’s back-checking and blocking shots, and they’ve done real consistent job of that this year. I thought our defense did a good job getting in shot lanes and blocking shots against Bernards. We strive to be better and find ways through a win streak to keep improving.
“Our consistency and how much our guys come willing to work and do the right things has really stood out with this group. They play the right way, don’t cheat the game and never take it easy. I think that’s what has set us apart so far.”
Written by Paul Bruno / @PaulBrunoHS
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