John Gelatt scored three goals, including a pivotal, shorthanded game-tying goal in the second period, to power St. John Vianney, No. 4 in The Hockey Advantage Private Schools Top 10, to a 5-2 victory over No. 7 Christian Brothers outdoors at Navesink Country Club in Middletown.
The triumph marked St. John Vianney’s first regulation victory over its Monmouth County rival since a 3-1 victory the 2001-02 season.
Twice Christian Brothers took a one-goal lead and twice St. John Vianney battled back to tie before Brett Schneider banged home the rebound off a play started by Jake LaRusso and Gelatt on the power play with 34 seconds left.
Schneider’s ninth goal of the season would give St. John Vianney a lead it would not relinquish as it skated into the second intermission up 3-2 after two periods of play.
Gelatt wasted little time putting the finishing touches on the hat trick when he converted off a turnover in the offensive zone just 55 seconds into the third period. Kevyn Rigatti capped the scoring with St. John Vianney’s second power-play goal of the game 2:08 later.
Giovanni Crepaldi and Liam Noonan scored for Christian Brothers (6-5-1), each assisted by Dean DiFazio. The loss marked CBA’s first non-Gordon Conference setback since a 2-1 loss to Howell on Jan. 17, 2014.
Christian Brothers had won each of its previous 10 games against St. John Vianney and is 15-2-2 overall in head-to-head action since the 2001-02 season. The two teams battled to a 2-2 tie in 2005-06 and again the 2002-03 season by the same score.
Christian Brothers forfeit their first of two meetings in 2003-04, but its last regulation loss to the Holmdel school was 16 years ago, before many of the players that appeared in last night’s outdoor game were even born.
“That win was for anyone who ever put on a SJV hockey sweater,” St. John Vianney coach Mick Messemer said.
“I’m proud of how (John Gelatt) responded after getting injured in the first period,” Messemer said. “He elevated his play and put the team on his back.”
LaRusso finished with three assists, John Gutt had two, while goaltender Jeremy Connor halted five of seven shots in the first period before blanking CBA the rest of the way.
“Great atmosphere, great night for hockey,” Christian Brothers coach Ryan Bogan said. “Thought SJV played a more disciplined game than we did and deserved the win. SJV got better as the game went on. Gutt, Schneider and Gelatt were good for sure.
“We are still struggling with adversity,” Bogan said.
Add it all up and St. John Vianney improves to 9-1-1 to reign atop the Shore Conference’s North Division. The Holmdel school opened up with six straight victories to begin the season before falling to Middletown North, 3-1, on Dec. 19. Since the loss, St. John Vianney has gone 3-0-1, including a 2-2 tie with Wall Township.
After jumping out to a 4-1 start, the road has been bumpy for Christian Brothers, which has lost three of its last four. The 2015 NJSIAA Non-Public State Champions will look to get back on track on Saturday against Newbridge Academy of Nova Scotia at Lynah Rink, home to Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y.
Main Image: St. John Vianney celebrates John Gelatt’s third goal of the game in the third period against Christian Brothers outdoors at Navesink Country Club in Middletown on January 3, 2018. (Tom Smith/TSPImages)
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