Rodrigues PPG Sends Seton Hall Prep Past St. Augustine, 2-1

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WEST ORANGE, NJ — Ryan Rodrigues knew exactly where he wanted his shot to land.

The junior forward launched a power play attempt from low in the right circle that sailed true with 2:44 remaining in the second period for what proved to be the decisive goal while Jake Schunke looked sharp in between the pipes to lead Seton Hall Prep, No. 6 in the Hockey Night In Boston New Jersey Top 10, to a 2-1 triumph over ninth-ranked St. Augustine Prep at Codey Arena.

“I went top left with the shot,” said Rodrigues of his second goal this winter, from his off-wing just below the dot. “I picked my head up and saw I had room up high and I went top shelf. We’ve been trying to execute our power play all year. We ran it well and I was able to snipe it.”

Patrick Zincone picked up the assist on Rodrigues’ game-winner, which gave Seton Hall (5-3-2) a 2-0 advantage.

The outcome was still in doubt, though, with much time remaining and St. Augustine (3-4-1) didn’t back off. The Richland school pressed on for the remainder of the second and throughout the third period.

The Hermits sliced their deficit – and made for quite an entertaining finish – when Matt Gandy ruined Schunke’s attempt at a shutout when he scored on a shorthanded breakaway with 3:13 remaining in regulation.

Schunke came through with a huge save and preserved the lead when he did the splits and stopped a shot with his left pad before St. Augustine called a timeout with 2:03 showing on the clock to regroup. The Hermits pulled goalie Matt Lynch (28 saves) for the extra attacker with 1:11 left and created a lot of traffic in front with a couple of chances but could not register the equalizer.

“Gandy has been opportunistic all year. He made it 2-1 and it was a great chance for us at that point,” said St. Augustine coach Tim Fingerhut, whose club is 4-2 in the past six games against Seton Hall. “We had a couple of super chances in that last 20 seconds but you have to bury them. At the end of the day you have to put the puck in the back of the net and we’re just a little snake-bit offensively.

“We had two or three 2-on-1’s early in the game and we put some pucks to the net, but their goalie did a good job swallowing everything up and tracking the puck. Seton Hall did a nice job and put a lot of shots on our goalie, but Matty Lynch had a great game for us. We just have to do a better job communicating in our defensive zone — We didn’t quit. We were down 2-0 and had a chance to battle back for a tie. It was a good battle.”

Seton Hall coach Mike Atkinson has been imploring his club to get more shots on goal and his club certainly complied with that theme.

The Pirates threw 30 shots at Lynch while yielding just 10 at the other end. Their defensemen were crisp in moving the puck and the forwards came back consistently and were strong on the boards. In its last four contests Seton Hall has launched 168 shots at the opposing goalies.

“We’ve been emphasizing hitting the net and getting shots through,” said Atkinson. “I think earlier in the season we weren’t doing that and I’m extremely happy with the shot total. You can’t not be. Our D have been much better at finding that open seam and our forwards have been more responsible. When you miss the net, you’re making the goalie’s job easier and they’re buying into that.”

Ryan Rodrigues’ power-play goal, assisted by Patrick Zincone with 2:44 left in the second period, was the difference as Seton Hall Prep edged St. Augustine, 2-1, at Codey Arena in West Orange on Jan. 3, 2020. (Photo by Paul Bruno/HockeyClan)

“Overall it was a good game,” Atkinson said. “They always bring a tough game. St. Augustine plays hard and hits hard. We knew after the first period they were going to come back hard.”

It was a clean battle for 45 minutes, with the two clubs combining for just three minor penalties — the one against Seton Hall was a bench minor for delay of game for not coming out of the locker room in time to start the third period.

The game’s first penalty did not come until there was 3:18 showing on the second period clock after a St. Augustine player was whistled for interference. Rodrigues’ goal came on that power play.

Related: Freshmen Gall and Zincone Power Seton Hall Prep Past Hun

Sal Betro opened the scoring for the Pirates with his fourth goal this season when his wide-angle low shot from the right circle snuck through for a 1-0 lead 4:39 into the first period. Jack Schneider and Aidan D’Urso each picked up an assist.

Schunke had a keen vantage point for his teammate’s performance.

“We had six defensemen just going hard on every shift and that’s also how we plan on winning hockey games. Over the past few games we’ve been really sustaining pressure well and getting a lot of shots on net. We’re executing that game plan well and getting the results so we’re happy with how everything is going.”


1-0 SHP Sal Betro (Jack Schneider, Aidan D’Urso) 10:21-1st

2-0 SHP Ryan Rodrigues (Patrick Zincone) 2:44-2nd PPG

2-1 STA Matt Gandy (unassisted) 3:13-3rd SHG

Shots: Seton Hall Prep 30-10


Written by Paul Bruno / @PaulBrunoHS 

Special to HockeyClan


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