Pink the Rink! Johnson, Bayonne Skate in Fight Against Cancer

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BAYONNE, NJ — The fight against cancer is one we can all get behind.

The Bayonne hockey team, in association with the American Cancer Society, hosted the first “Pink the Rink” hockey game, and to the delight of several hundred in attendance the Bees lined up in pink uniforms and stood in solidarity in the fight against cancer.

“We wanted to get involved with a charity event and really shed a lot of positivity with our program and what we’re trying to accomplish,” Bayonne coach Steve Plancey said. “Here in Bayonne, we have phenomenal resources between our faculty, administration and staff. We wanted to get our student-athletes involved in the community the right way.” 

Pink t-shirts and jerseys lined the walls at Korpi Arena along with a number of celebrity raffles for tickets, memorabilia and other items for sale or donation to help raise cancer awareness. Ticket and concessions sales also went to the proceeds. Plancey estimated the game, which the team is looking to make an annual event, sold close to 300 pink t-shirts, raising a couple thousand dollars.

“It’s a great cause. The reason why we chose the American Cancer Society is because they target many areas of cancer, not just one,” Plancey said. “At the end of the day, hockey is just a game — there are more important things.”

On the ice, Johnson broke it open with six goals in the third period en route to a 10-2 victory over Bayonne. Anthony Morreale had a hand in half his team’s goals with a pair of assists to go along with his second hat trick of the season.  

Ryan Fizer added a goal and two assists and Nick Galati, Richard Ledden, Joe Walsh, Mike Midrano, Luke Texidor and Robert Vill also scored for Johnson, which improves to 7-2 this season.

“Playing with Joe Walsh and Anthony Jacobs, two freshmen, we have young chemistry,” Morreale, a junior, said. “We moved the puck around pretty good, shot the puck and found the back of the net. 

“It feels good,” Morreale said. “I got off to a slow start to the season but I’m picking it up now and the team is on a roll. I believe we can go all the way. We’ve got the talent, we’ve got the skill.”

Fizer got the scoring started for Johnson just 3:12 into the game.

“It was good to get the first goal on the board,” Fizer said. ” My line is making a lot of good passes. Dustin Hartenstein gave me a good shot from the top and I was able to deflect it to get my goal. With Mike DeGregorio, Bob (Vill) and Jack Sachewitz rotating on a line with me — we’ve got some good chemistry.”

Related: Johnson Doubles up Edison, 12-6, Behind Mekovetz, Galati

Johnson carried a 2-0 lead into the first intermission after Morreale found the back of the net for his first with 5:26 left in the first period. Galati and Morreale scored 5:28 apart early in the second period to extend Johnson’s lead to four, but Gabriel Morales took back some of the momentum putting Bayonne on the board, 4-1, with 55.9 seconds left.

“Coach is always telling me to crash the net, crash the net,” Morales said. “I saw Anthony O’Brien in the corner so I crashed the net and got an easy backdoor. Hopes were still high in the locker room. We were only down 4-1. We could still come back. We tried our best, just drifted away.”

Anthony Morreale (12) scored three goals and added two assists as Johnson defeated Bayonne, 10-2, at Korpi Arena in Bayonne on Jan. 10, 2020. (HockeyClan)

Ledden crashed the comeback just 55 seconds into the third period to put Johnson back up by four before Walsh made it 6-1 a minute-and-a-half later.

To the Bees’ credit, Bayonne never stopped attacking and Morales notched his second goal of the game 27 seconds after Walsh.

“It means a lot because this has never been done before in Bayonne — we’re a very small town, a close-knit community,” Morales said. “It was a very nice, heartwarming experience because we all come from cancer families, family members or people we know affected by cancer.”   

Related: Bayonne Buzz Past Johnson with Two Goals 28 Seconds Apart

Morreale completed the hat trick with 5:38 remaining in regulation and Johnson, which received 28 saved from Nick Sofiankois in between the pipes, pulled away with three goals over the final 2:24.

“Bayonne is always a tough group that goes whistle to whistle,” Johnson coach Bryan Klimchak said. “We wanted our team at the same speed, same intensity level because we knew they were going to bring it no matter what. I’m just happy we were able to play more consistent hockey toward the end of the game. Our depth really helped us there.

“Anthony is doing all the right things,” Klimchak said. “He ties up pucks, puts pucks on net when there’s traffic in front, he’s thinking distribute first then shoot second and tonight he was rewarded. I’m just happy the kids who put in the work are finding the scoresheet, guys who put in the work every day in practice. Guys are getting rewarded for all the time and hard work they put in.”

Prior to taking over at Bayonne this season, Plancey was head coach at Point Pleasant Boro for two seasons. With the support of the administration behind him, Plancey is aiming to bring back the culture that saw Bayonne capture the NJSIAA title in 2000.

“We competed until the last few minutes. It was a 4-1 game going into the third,” Plancey said. “We are inexperienced. We are young in so many different ways, growth, development, but me, myself and my coaching staff we’re doing a great job establishing culture, how to play the game the right way, the commitment, the discipline that it takes to not only play at the varsity level but be an elite athlete to strive for excellence in the classroom, community and on the rink as well.” 

Scoring

1-0 JOHN Ryan Fizer (Dustin Hartenstein) 11:48-1st

2-0 JOHN Anthony Morreale 5:25-1st

3-0 JOHN Nick Galati (Matt Bellucci, Mike Midrano) 12:59-2nd PPG

4-0 JOHN Anthony Morreale 7:31-2nd

4-1 BAY Gabriel Morales (Anthony O’Brien) 55.9-2nd PPG

5-1 JOHN Richard Ledden (Nick Galati) 14:05-3rd

6-1 JOHN Joe Walsh (Anthony Morreale, Kyle Sachewitz) 12:37-3rd

6-2 BAY Gabriel Morales (Christopher Conyers) 12:10-3rd

7-2 JOHN Anthony Morreale (Anthony Jacobs, Richard Ledden) 5:38-3rd

8-2 JOHN Mike Midrano (Anthony Morreale, Anthony Jacobs) 2:24-3rd

9-2 JOHN Luke Texidor (Robert Vill, Ryan Fizer) 2:07-3rd

10-2 JOHN Robert Vill (Ryan Fizer) 1:42-3rd

Shots: 41-30 Johnson

 

Written by John Christian Hageny  @JCCSPORTS 

Special to HockeyClan

 

 

 

 

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