WEST ORANGE — Mike Atkinson issued a challenge to his club after the second period, and his Seton Hall Prep players responded in resounding fashion.
Locked in a 3-3 tie after 30 minutes, the Pirates exploded with a seven-goal outburst in the final period on their way to a 10-4 victory over Morristown-Beard at Codey Arena.
Phil Feinberg finished with a hat trick, Ryan Kemp added two goals and two assists and Thomas Colucci scored once and picked up four assists as Seton Hall improved to 4-1 with its third consecutive decision, and its best start since opening with a 5-1 record in 2009-2010 under then-coach Peter Herms.
Despite out-shooting Morristown-Beard (3-2-1) 28-7 after the first two periods (46-14 overall, the Pirates found themselves headed into the third in that 3-3 deadlock – and Atkinson knew his squad had more in the hockey tank.
“I challenged them,” said Atkinson, doing an excellent job in his fourth season behind the Pirates’ bench. “I told them they had to answer the bell now, that they can’t just show up and play hockey. We had a lot of shots, but we weren’t crashing the net or getting rebounds. I thought we were a little lazy the first two periods, so we had 15 minutes to find out.”
Alex Kuhtik swatted in a rebound of a shot by Tyler Fogu 1:24 into the third as Seton Hall took a 4-3 lead, and the tally ignited a four-goal surge in a span of 1:23, giving the Pirates a 7-3 bulge. Patrick Zincone, Anthony Martine and Feinberg each hit during the span for Seton Hall.
“It was all about getting into their end and putting in the work,” said Feinberg, a sophomore who’s first goal with 4:25 into the first period erased a 1-0 deficit. “We knew we had to come into the third with more effort. We needed those points and we needed this game. We aren’t looking into the past, it’s about the future for us.”
Feinberg and line mates Colucci and Kemp accounted for 12 points in the contest.
“Coach let us know we weren’t working up to our potential,” said Kemp, a senior. “We just kind of exploded in the third and made the most of our opportunities. Our last two games we’ve been tied 3-3 going into the third period and we’ve responded. Our confidence is high right now and we’ve scored 16 goals in our last two games. When we work hard and just chip away we can be a good team. We continue to grow and when we find our game we feel like we’re tough to stop.”
Seton Hall carried a 2-1 lead into the second period but Morristown-Beard erased that deficit by scoring on its only two shots of the stanza. Seth Kaplan went glove-side before Tommy Matthews scored a power-play goal to give the Crimson a 3-2 lead.
That didn’t last long, though, as Colucci delivered the equalizer for Seton Hall when he stole the puck in the offensive slot and scored to make it 3-3.
“We stuck with them for two periods and we felt pretty good going into the third in a tie game,” said Morristown-Beard first-year coach Scott Greene. “We were down to three lines and were missing some guys with illness and I think that caught up to us a bit. We knew we were a little lucky after the first two periods but it just wasn’t our night in the end. Seton Hall wore us down and they had the puck in our zone for long stretches. We’re a young team and still learning.”
Matt Dertouzos and Nick Vantassell also scored and Connor Tartaglione finished with two assists for Morristown-Beard, which handed Seton Hall a 6-3 defeat last season.
Seton Hall has scored 26 goals while allowing 14 in its six games and will skate next against Gordon Conference rival St. Peter’s Prep on Friday at RWJ Barnabas Health Hockey House in Newark.
— Hockey Advantage (@HockeyAdvantage) December 12, 2018
Written by Paul Bruno / @PaulBrunoHS
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