RED BANK — Brian Anderson turned in a hat trick while Ciaran McNelis provided stellar goaltending as Red Bank Catholic took a 6-2 decision over Jackson Liberty Wednesday night at the Red Bank Armory.
McNelis pushed aside 28 of the 30 that the Lions fired at him, continuing his stretch as one of the hottest
goalies in the state over the past week. In the last three games, including tonight, McNelis has stopped 123 of 127 shots fired at him, including a 47-save shutout over Rumson Fair Haven and a 50-save performance over the top public team in the Shore Conference in Wall Township.
Nick Reed and Anthony Caruso each scored a little over a minute into the action to stake the Caseys to a 2-0 lead midway through the first before Nick LaBianca came back and cut the Jackson Liberty deficit to one.
For Caruso, it was his first-career varsity goal.
Brian Anderson connected on a power-play goal from Jason Harper and Logan Gallagher in the final minute of the opening period as Red Bank Catholic skated into the first intermission up 3-1 after 15 minutes.
An unassisted goal from Anderson was the only scoring of the second period that started to see a little bit of pushing and shoving occur late in the frame.
The theatrics led into the third where, only 16 seconds in, Joey Granza gave the Lions new life slicing the deficit to 4-2.
It would be as close as Jackson Liberty would come, however, as Justin Lidondici restored the three-goal Caseys lead with an assist from Harper, his second of the game.
Anderson deposited the puck into an empty net to complete the hat trick and seal the 6-2 victory for Red Bank Catholic, which improves to 6-5-2. Anderson now has seven goals on the season.
RBC is now 5-1-1 in their last seven games, with their only defeat coming to Montclair Kimberly, which scored late in the third period to salvage that victory.
“Confidence has been key – with every win or tie our confidence raises – that’s key to a good hockey team,” McNelis said. “We are a confident bunch right now and we are rolling.”
“That was one of our best team wins – everyone really contributed,” Anderson said. “We have some confidence and once you keep it rolling it is really easy to keep going playing as a team.”
Brandon Sheerin made 23 saves for the Lions, which fall to 6-5-1. Jackson Liberty will try to rebound January 19 at 4:50 p.m. when they take on Rumson Fair Haven at Howell Ice World.
Red Bank Catholic will look to keep it going January 19 when they take on St. Joseph Montvale at the Sport-O-Rama in Monsey, N.Y.
Written by Casey J. Krish / @CaseyKrish
Special to HockeyClan
Photos by Tom Smith / @TSPImages
Main Image: Red Bank Catholic goalie Ciaran McNelis makes a glove save on the point blank shot against Jackson Liberty at the Red Bank Armory on January 17, 2018. (Tom Smith/TSPImages)
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