Kordonsky GWG in OT Lifts Pingry Past Hunterdon Central, 3-2, in 2020 Skyland Cup

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SOMERSET, NJ — The ice was still wet when Pingry spilled out onto it in overtime.

Jared Kordonsky delivered in true sudden-death fashion — 15 seconds into overtime — to lift Pingry to a dramatic, 3-2, come-from-behind victory over Hunterdon Central in the final of the Skyland Cup at Protec Ponds.

“I just remember getting the puck, seeing their defenseman, using him as a screen and putting it top corner,” Kordonsky said. “I saw the (water) bottle move and the rest is a blur.”

(Photo by Mark Carosiello HockeyClan)

Kordonsky’s rising wrister, locked on the top-left corner, proved to be the game-winner completing the comeback from a 2-0 deficit and sending the Big Blue to its second straight and fourth Skyland Cup overall.

“Coming out at the end of the third, Jared looked at me and said, ‘I just know we’re going to win this,’ and 15 seconds in he scores the game-winner,” Pingry goalie Kevin Parnham said. “It’s a great feeling.”

A scoreless first period gave way to a four-goal second frame beginning with back-to-back Hunterdon Central goals from Payton Miller and Darin Michaels 26 seconds apart.

The flurry stunned the top-seed and defending champion, which had headily outshot third-seeded Hunterdon to that point with nothing to show for it.

(Photo by Mark Carosiello HockeyClan)

Facing a two-goal deficit, play intensified as hits and bodies flew with reckless abandon. Breakouts were busted with several open-ice hits that sent the crowd into a frenzy while both teams battled for puck possession in the corners.

With all the momentum, a minute after Miller set up Michaels for what seemed like an insurmountable two-goal lead at the time, a big collision along the nearside boards occurred next to Pingry’s bench sending Jacob Stapert to the penalty box. Hunterdon Central was assessed a five-minute major for boarding and the Big Blue power play went to work.

“That was the turning point,” Pingry defenseman Peter Korn said. “Going on the power play for five minutes was big. We knew we had to put one in quick — we did and we got another one to even it up.”

Ryan Bush slashed the deficit in half just 20 seconds into the man-advantage to cut it to 2-1 before Korn tied it with 24 seconds left in the 5-on-4.

Kordonsky assisted on both goals that made it a 2-2 game and a clean slate with 7:46 left in the second period.

Hunterdon Central goalie Jack Menechillo gets the left pad out for one of his 32 saves in the Skyland Cup final at Protec Ponds in Somerset, Feb. 15, 2020. (Photo by Mark Carosiello/HockeyClan)

“They take a penalty, everyone realized that was our shot to tie it back up,” Parnham, who finished with 20 saves, said. “We fell behind at the beginning of the second, but everyone realized we needed to kick it up because we had another gear.”

“We had more than half the game left,” Kordonsky said. “We knew if we were the better team we would be able to tie it back up.”

As play wore on, it was clear this tilt would be decided in the trenches. Pingry continued to hammer Hunterdon goalie Jack Menechillo but the Red Devils goalie kept it scoreless sending the game to overtime.

Payton Miller and Darin Michaels gave Hunterdon Central a 2-0 lead, but Pingry rallied for three, including Jared Kordonsky’s game-winner in overtime, to capture the 2020 Skyland Cup at Protec Ponds in Somerset, Feb. 15, 2020. (Photo by Mark Carosiello/HockeyClan)

“Both teams were exhausted,” Korn said at the end of regulation.

“Dig in deep and get try one quick,” was the plan coming out of the locker room, he said.

With the ice still wet from the Zamboni, a scrum ensued off the faceoff in overtime. The puck worked its way back to defenseman Grant Lardizabel who pushed it back up to Kordonsky who took the draw at center. Kordonsky skated it straight into the offensive zone, and using the defenseman as a screen, wired a shot from 40-feet out into the top corner.

Related: Pingry Seizes First Skyland Cup Since 2012

Pingry defender Peter Korn (#13) does all he can to block a pass in front of goalie Kevin Parnham. (Photo by Mark Carosiello/HockeyClan)

Kordonsky, whose older brother Cameron, played for Hunterdon Central from 2014-’17, had a hand in all three of his team’s goals with a goal and two assists.

“It was crazy. It was a blur. I shot it and I don’t even remember what happened,” he said. “I remember lying on ice.”

After the game, Pingry made a joyous call to 87-year old John Magadini from the locker room. The longtime coach, who was following along with the game at home on LiveBarn, was unable to attend.

“‘Do it for Mags‘ — it’s something we’ve been talking about all year,” Korn said. “We miss him. We knew we had to get it for him. To be able to come back from down 2-0 speaks to our coaches and our fight all year.”

Goal! Jared Kordonsky’s shot in overtime beats Hunterdon Central goalie Jack Menchillo, the puck visible in the net behind him. Pingry prevailed, 3-2, in the 2020 Skyland Cup at Protec Ponds in Somerset, Feb. 15, 2020. (Photo by Mark Carosiello/HockeyClan)

“I thought we played really good today, 5-on-5,” Hunterdon Central coach Mike Murphy said. “We we’re doing a good job of getting pucks out. That’s a very, very good hockey team. We got into some spots where we made some plays, I’m real proud of the second period we played. We had a tough kill for five minutes and they got some bounces. But I really liked how we got back up.”

Pingry defeated Hunterdon Central, 4-1, in their first meeting of the season on Dec. 6. But the Red Devils turned the tables on Big Blue with a 4-1 victory of their own on Jan. 9.

“It shows how far we’ve come,” Murphy said. “You’ve got to be ready for every single game in our conference because anybody can beat anybody.”

Related: Overtime Goal Secures Hunterdon Central’s First-Ever Skyland Cup

Pingry celebrates the 2020 Skyland Cup. (Photo by Mark Carosiello/HockeyClan)

Pingry improves to 13-2-3. Hunterdon Central is 10-6-3. Both Skyland Conference teams have enjoyed success this season and will look toward the upcoming NJSIAA tournament.

“We talked about it in the locker room: How a lot of overtimes end early, how the team that comes out more ready to play right off the bat, with more energy can get a chance to end a game — I guess they took it to heart,” Pingry coach Scott Garrow said. “When you get a player of Jared’s talent the puck was bound to go in at some point.”

The triumph marks back-to-back cups for Pingry, which also won back-to-back cups in 2011-’12.

“We miss having Mags around, but to be able to do it for him and have him on the speaker phone in the locker room after was real special,” Garrow said. “We’ve got a good group of kids that work hard every game.”

Pingry Big Blue, 2020 Skyland Cup Champions. (Photo by Mark Carosiello/HockeyClan)

“It’s fantastic,” Garrow said. “From a conference perspective, it’s real competitive. Hunterdon Central got hot at the end. They’re an extremely good team that should be one of the favorites in Public A. Ridge should be one of the favorites in Public B and Hillsborough has a shot in Public A as well. The Skyland Conference is very well-coached. We’ve got a lot of talent in the league and we feel we can compete with anyone.”

“We work all year, every year, just trying to get back here,” Parnham added. “I’ve been here three times — it’s good to get the last two — and we’re coming back next year.”


0-1 HC Payton Miller (unassisted) 13:27-2nd

0-2 HC Darin Michaels (Payton Miller) 13:01-2nd

1-2 P Ryan Bush (Peter Korn, Jared Kordonsky) 12:02-2nd PPG

2-2 P Peter Korn (Jared Kordonsky, Lachlan Gibson) 7:46-2nd PPG

3-2 P Jared Kordonsky (Grant Lardizabal) 14:45-OT

Shots: 35-22, Pingry; Parnham, Pingry, 20 saves; Menechillo, HC, 32 saves


Written by John Christian Hageny  @JCCSPORTS 

Special to HockeyClan


Photos by Mark Carosiello  @SnapthePicture6



2019-Pingry GAME STORY
2018-Ridge GAME STORY
2017-Hunterdon Central GAME STORY
2016-Ridge GAME STORY
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2012-Pingry GAME STORY


Pingry seniors James Cummings (#21), Ryan Bush (#3), Joe Faccone (#19), Eino Korpela (#18) and Jack Myers (#8). (Photo by Mark Carosiello/HockeyClan)


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