Shore Conference Showcase Honors 41 Seniors, State’s Longest-Tenured Coach Bob Auriemma

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BRICK — The Shore Conference Senior Showcase is one of the most anticipated events of the hockey season. Commemorating yet another year in the books, the Shore Conference Ice Hockey Coaches Association assembled 41 seniors from across Monmouth and Ocean Counties for a fond farewell.

This year, however, the theme was a bit different as the coaches association took a moment to recognize one of its own.

Bob Auriemma, the longest-tenured coach in the state of New Jersey who just completed his 54th season in a career that began at Brick Township in 1966, was honored in between periods at the Ocean Ice Palace in Brick.

This year, a special dedication was given to Auriemma (729-363-102 all-time) as the six-time state champion and third-winningest active coach in the United States received a plaque and a decree stating henceforth, the event would now be known as “The Bob Auriemma Senior Showcase.”

(Courtesy of Shore Sports Zone)

“I told the boys, ‘In all those years, 700 wins and even more games, I never scored one goal, I never saw one minute of ice,'” Auriemma said. “It was all them. They did all the hard work.”

With a career winning percentage of 67%, the 1984 Star-Ledger State Coach of the Year led Brick to NJSIAA titles in 1976, ’77, ’79, ’86, ’90 and ’97. He also guided the Ocean County school to eight Gordon Conference titles, the oldest running tournament in New Jersey, bringing home titles in 1974, ’75, ’76, ’79, ’80, ’84, ’85 and ’99.

“Coach Auriemma has been a mentor to several of us over the years,” Freehold Township coach Michael Celano, President of the Shore Conference Ice Hockey Coaches Association and one of the chief organizers of the event, said. “He has been one of the most successful coaches in NJ High School history. It’s only right that we honor him this way — the game is now known as the Bob Auriemma Senior Showcase.”

Tom Smith (TSPimages.com)

On the ice, the American Team defeated the National Team by a score of 8-2.

Michael Mania of Central Regional got the scoring started for the American Team at 9:59 left in the first period, assisted by Sam Weber (Christian Brothers). Ryan Carr (Point Pleasant Beach) followed that up scoring a shorthanded goal, assisted by Alex Phipps (St. Rose) to take a 2-0 lead into the first intermission.

There was plenty more action in the second period as the American team extended its lead to a 3-0 on a goal from John Dinnocenzo (Middletown North) 2:14 into the frame. Connor Deverin answered for the National Team as the Rumson-Fair Haven senior put his team on the board with assists from Nico Pica (Toms River North) and Trevor Cear (Jackson Memorial) to make it 3-1. Pica didn’t stop there making it a one-goal game just 1:59 later on an unassisted goal with 10:47 left in the middle frame to cut it to 3-2.

Unfortunately for the National Team, that would round out its scoring as the remainder of the markers in the tilt were all from the American Team.

Tom Smith (TSPimages.com)

Freehold Township’s Max Halvorsen put his team back up by two off assists from Mania and Corey Clifton (Christian Brothers) and Frank Taddeo (Red Bank Regional) connected again moments later to make it a 5-2 game. Clifton finished again just prior to the ice cut and second intermission honoring of Auriemma to make it 6-2 after two.

Mania, the American Team’s Most Valuable Player with two goals and two assists, set up Nic Dietrich (Christian Brothers) to make it 7-2 in the third and final period before Manalapan’s John Fannizza capped the scoring with an unassisted, shorthanded effort.

“It was great with my line. We played together in the APP game last year. It felt good being with a bunch of great kids — all the friends I played with my entire life,” Mania, the state’s leading scorer with 103 points this past season, said.

With a goal and an assist, Pica was selected as the National Team MVP as chosen by the coaches.

“It was great playing against these guys. We played against them all season and they really gave it their all,” Pica said. “It was just fun to get one last skate in with everyone before we go to college.”

Tom Smith (TSPimages.com)

ROSTERS

American Team
Corey Clifton – Christian Brothers
Ryan D’Amelio – Howell
Max Halvorsen – Freehold Township
Mike Mania – Central Regional
Rob Goehring- Red Bank Catholic
Alex Phipps – St. Rose
John Dinnocenzo – Middletown North
John Fannizza – Manalapan
Frank Taddeo – Red Bank Regional
Alec Fortune – Freehold Boro
Ryan Carr – Point Pleasant Beacj
Ryan Lambert – Middletown South
Mike Mooney – Brick Township
Matt Kimak – Point Pleasant Beach
Logan Viducic – Brick Memorial
Julian Kislin – Freehold Township
Sam Weber – Christian Brothers
Nic Dietrich – Christian Brothers
Cooper Klotz – Point Pleasant Beach
Riley Jakubczak – Central Regional

National Team
Mike Caufield – Southern Regional
James O’Keefe – St. John Vianney
Nico Pica – Toms River North
JT Maloney – Brick Township
Luke Bartow – Marlboro
Brendan Liebross – Freehold Township
Connor Deverin – Rumson-Fair Haven
Joe D’Andrea – Jackson Liberty
Mitch Grogan – Manasquan
John D’Aniello – Christian Brothers
Steven Karanossos – Wall Township
Reno D’Agostini – Southern Regional
Trevor Cear – Jackson Memorial
Bryce Grant – St. Rose
Ian Hendrickson – Ocean Township
Trent Markley – Southern Regional
Ricky Napoli – Toms River South
Nick Raiola – Freehold Township
Will Mora – Lacey

Tom Smith (TSPimages.com)

TOP HOCKEY TRIO COMBINES FORCES IN SENIOR SHOWCASE — SHORE SPORTS ZONE

Tom Smith (TSPimages.com)
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