WALL TOWNSHIP — Liam Noonan crashed the net 31 seconds into overtime and was rewarded for his efforts as third-seeded Christian Brothers Academy snapped a scoreless tie after 45 minutes of end-to-end action with a thrilling 1-0 nail-biter over sixth-seeded Seton Hall Prep in the quarterfinals of the NJSIAA Non-Public quarterfinals Monday afternoon at Jersey Shore Arena.
Noonan found the puck landing on his stick on a pass thrown his way by Garett Silverman. Will Seijas also was credited with an assist on the play.
“I was driving to the net. Silverman gave me a pass and the goalie made a great save,” Noonan said. “Luckily I was able to get the rebound and put it in.”
CBA goaltender Jake Brown steered aside all 30 shots the Pirates fired his way to earn the shutout.
“We knew it would be tough and we knew we would have to play defensive and wait for our opportunities,” Brown said.
The Colts have now come out on top in all three of their meetings with Seton Hall Prep this season. They took a 2-0 decision on Dec. 4 in the regular season as well as a 3-2 shootout victory in the opening round of the Gordon Cup Playoffs on Feb. 12.
“It goes both ways – playing a third time,” CBA head coach Ryan Bogan said. “They are a tough team that we need to see multiple times. On the flip side, you are very familiar with your opponent.”
CBA is no stranger to making it this far in the NJSIAA tournament. In fact, you would need to go back to 2006 to find the last time they did not at least reach the semifinals of the private schools bracket.
“The guys work so hard this year – they do every year. They want to go to The Rock and they earned the chance to get there,” Bogan said.
CBA spent most of the second period down a man. They took four of their six total minor penalties during the frame, but its penalty killing unit rose up to the challenge each time.
“Seton Hall prep has played us hard all year,” Bogan added. “We were able to kill off some penalties and stick to our game plan. It’s just great when you see that pay off.”
“We kept rolling our lines the entire game – everyone gave 100 percent out there tonight,” Noonan said.
John Profaci stood tall in making 18 saves for the Pirates, which saw one of their most successful seasons in recent history come to a close at 12-8-5.
The Green Wave of Delbarton, the defending NJSIAA champions, are the only roadblock standing between CBA and yet another date at “The Rock.”
CBA and Delbarton have already met three times this season, but its fourth and final bout will be for all the marbles.
The Colts won the first meeting, 5-3, on Jan. 17 before the Green Wave returned the favor, 2-1, on Jan. 30. Delbarton also defeated CBA, 6-3, in the Gordon Cup semifinals.
Round four of this Gordon Conference rivalry will take place Thursday, Mar. 1 at 8:30 p.m. from Mennen Arena in what will be a rematch of last year’s Non-Public semifinals. Delbarton prevailed, 6-3, en route to an unprecedented 12th NJSIAA title.
“I honestly felt a little nervous coming in, but now that it’s all over I’m focusing on Delbarton,” Brown said.
“This is great – it’s my senior year,” Noonan said. “We just have to take it one game at a time and get ready for Thursday.”
Written by Casey J. Krish / @CaseyKrish
Special to HockeyClan
Photos by Jessica Rabstein / @JRabstein
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