OLD BRIDGE, NJ — David Kish didn’t hesitate when asked about the key ingredient in Old Bridge’s solid play in recent weeks.
“For our team it’s been Alex Sech,” said Kish, a sophomore who centers the Knights’ top line along with Sech and junior Matt Kravets, outside his club’s locker room. “He’s been huge. He’s been the key guy for us. We get him the puck and he puts it in the net.”
Sech did it again on Tuesday, registering two goals to go with a pair of assists, Kravets finished with two goals and an assist and Chris Kennedy collected a goal and an assist when Old Bridge skated to a 5-1 victory over Red Bank Regional at John Piccolo Arena in Old Bridge.
Kish picked up an assist and Nick Skilirenko and Heather Figueroa collected two assists each.
The top trio accounted for seven points in the triumph, which helped Old Bridge improve to 6-8-1. The Knights have two games remaining before the NJSIAA cutoff for the state tournament on Feb. 4 – Jan. 30 vs. Edison and Feb. 4 vs. Colonia.
Old Bridge coach Damien LoNigro tabbed the trio as the team’s top line a month ago, and they have not disappointed.
“They’ve been outstanding since we put them together,” LoNigro noted. “We didn’t have a lot of depth early in the year and we were trying to spread our lines out. We put them together in late December and I think we’re 5-2-1 since then. They’ve been doing their job with a good, structured forecheck. We feel like we’re more ready now and everyone understands their role. Lately, not many teams have been able to stop them.”
Sech opened the scoring when he connected off assists from Kish and Heather Figueroa 4:17 into the first period to give Old Bridge a 1-0 lead.
Just 3:02 later it was Kravets’ turn to hit net as he converted on a feed from Sech to make it 2-0. Kravets struck again with a power-play goal with 2:46 left in the first to extend the lead to 3-0. Sech and Nick Skliarenko assisted on the goal. Kravets and Sech have combined for 26 goals on the season.
Page Lootsma ripped a slapper for a goal as Red Bank Reginonal (3-12) cut the deficit to 3-1.
“Their top line moved the puck real well,” said Red Bank Regional coach Connor Keating. “Sech is a real fast skater and that line really worked the puck around. We knew coming in that we had to try and shut them down. After we cut it to 3-1 going into the second period we felt like we had to play a more physical game, especially against their top line. We needed to pick up our foot speed and we needed a bit more energy. We did and the second was our best period.”
Sech scored his second goal with 10:53 remaining in the second period to extend the Knight’s lead to 4-1.
Kennedy closed out the scoring in the third period and Dylan Schroeder was strong in goal for Old Bridge in finishing with 24 saves.
Kravets noted his line’s speed and ability to control the puck for much of the contest.
“The three of us have a lot of chemistry and we worked the cycle great today. I think we can produce because we usually know where we all are on the ice. We convert off that cycle game and we trust each other. Whatever helps the team we all go with it.
“We wanted get on Red Bank quickly and not let them skate too much with the puck. We were able to do that for the most part and settle into the game.”
Kish admits his role as the top line pivot between Sech and Kravets has been just outright fun much of the time.
“It’s pretty amazing playing with them. They are always out there flying around. I can just look up and give them the puck and it seems it’s either going to be a shot on net or a goal. It’s been fun playing with two outstanding players and it’s really been great playing with them.”
Kravets knows the challenge now with two games remaining to get to that critical .500 point for Old Bridge.
“These next two games are huge for us. We are going to go as hard as we can to get wins in these next two games. As the season goes on obviously the games get more intense. Everyone on the team wants to go out there on every shift and make a difference.”
Written by Paul Bruno / @PaulBrunoHS
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