BRIDGEWATER — Jared Kordonsky has shown his skill and speed during his early turns on the ice for Pingry, and Wednesday he displayed his sure-handed goal-scoring touch as well.
Kordonsky, a sophomore, settled a pass in the right circle and wired a wrister glove side with 4:44 left on the third period clock to send Pingry to a 3-2 victory over a resilient Hunterdon Central at Bridgewater Sports Arena.
“Jared is a guy that plays tremendously hard every shift and he’s got a lot of skill to go along with it,” said Pingry coach Scott Garrow. “We count on him to make big plays like that and he has been making them ever since he came into the program as a freshman last year. For the emerging underclassmen. He’s comfortable in that spot.”
“I was just hoping to get to open ice and it was a great pass from Eric Bush,” said Kordonsky of his first goal of the season. “I saw it kind of unfolding and it was a nice angle I had on the goalie. I was able to skate into the open ice and go top shelf for the goal.”
The victory allowed Pingry to improve to 2-0 and marked its third straight decision over its Skyland Conference foe – Pingry won all three contests last season (2-0, 2-0, 6-2).
Hunterdon Central (2-2) pulled goalie Jack Menichillo, a sophomore who was outstanding in making his second varsity start, with 1:45 on the clock but could not grab the equalizer before the final buzzer. The West Jersey club also came close and created some good scoring opportunities with three power plays in the third, but was unable to get a puck past Pingry goalie Kevin Parnham (15 saves)
“We had chances and that’s what makes it a good hockey game,” said Hunterdon Central coach Paul Cavanaugh. “It’s always a good battle with Pingry. We had chances, but we couldn’t bury them. Give credit to their goalie and defense and they took advantage of a mistake that we made. We will be able to use this to our advantage. We saw what we can do when we play like we did over the final two periods.”
Indeed, Hunterdon Central trailed 2-0 after a first period that was controlled throughout by Pingry, which sent nine high-quality shots at Menichillo in the opening 15 minutes. The Big Blue took a 1-0 lead on a goal by Eric Bush with 8:20 left after he took a neat drop pass from Kordonsky and wristed a 20-footer stickside.
Seconds after Pingry’s first power play ended, Daniel Schnack made it 2-0 off a scramble in front.
“We were extremely flat in the first period,” noted Cavanaugh, “and the only reason it was just 2-0 was our goaltender kept us in the game with a gigantic effort. Jack played great back there and kept us in it until we were able to regroup.”
Cavanaugh’s club certainly regained their legs and composure after ice cut, moving the puck more quickly and getting pressure at the other end.
After Parnham stopped a deflection off the stick of Jake Stapert, Jack Schnack scored off the rush with assists from Nick Mastropaolo and Will Meyer to cut the deficit to 2-1.
It looked like that advantage would hold into the third, but Stapert had other ideas. The junior darted in from the right wing and whipped a wrister to the far side with less than one second on the clock to even it at 2-2. James Coussoule assisted.
“When we have a lead like we did in the first we can’t lay back,” Kordonsky noted. “I think everyone knows that on the team and it’s reinforced by our coaches. We can’t take our foot off the pedal in a game. We have to just keep playing hard and not let up.”
Garrow believed his club had to settle back into its game and regroup after the stunning end to the second.
“They kind of took over and dominated the second period and it was a little demoralizing with that last-second goal,” said Garrow, “but Hunterdon Central deserved to be back in the game at that point. We talked about getting back to getting on the pucks again in the third period. Being able to kill off those three penalties in the third was big for sure.
“It’s an early season game and both teams made some mistakes, but it was a good pace. Hunterdon Central is one of the best teams in the league and it was a good game to get a gauge on how much better we need to get.”
Written by Paul Bruno / @PaulBrunoHS
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