TOMS RIVER, NJ — St. Rose won the 2019 Winding River Holiday Tournament with a 6-1 victory over Toms River North behind goals from five different players in a dominating offensive performance Friday afternoon.
The Catholic Schools tri-op made up from players from St. Rose, Donovan Catholic and Red Bank Catholic fired 65 and 70 shots on net over the first two games of the tournament, respectively, before once again pepping the net with 52 in the championship game at the Winding River Skating Center in Toms River.
“We were putting a lot of shots on net in this tournament, but we knew we needed more quality opportunities,” St. Rose / Donovan Catholic / Red Bank Catholic head coach R.J. Hering said. “All credit to the goalies we faced, but we weren’t sending any of those difficult shots their way. Today we were great on shot selection and positing and we were able to get those dirty goals in front of the net.”
It did not take long for one of their shots to find the back of the twine. Chris Lordi started the scoring just 1:11 into the game, hitting on a feed in front from Aidan Grant.
“We had to leave it all out there tonight,” Tim Regan said. “We all wanted this very much and I think we played a very good game and very good tournament.”
“We started off the first period very strong,” Lordi said.
The quick tally on the first shot of the game was something the Roses have been searching for. In the opening day of the tournament against 8th-seeded Brick Memorial, Cooper Reilly stopped the first 44 shots he faced, ultimately settling for 61 saves. Wall Township goalie Joe Hooper followed with a 66 save shutout in the semifinal round.
Lordi’s goal not only opened up the scoreboard — it also gave St. Rose a sigh of relief after being stonewalled often the first two games.
The lead, however, would be short-lived.
With just over five minutes remaining in the opening frame, Cole Schneider slid a pass toward Justin Ervelli in the slot, where the junior was able to bury a game-tying tally. Anthony DeFalco was also given an assist on the play, his 22nd helper of the season.
But the Roses responded only 60 seconds later when Jack Foote found the net with 4:23 to play. Mike Frattaroli and Tim Regan drew assists on the 2-1 lead.
The best opportunity for the Mariners came in the waning moments of the period when a sloppy sequence led to a 5-on-3 power play for 1:31. The penalty kill, which was a perfect 5-for-5 in the contest, buckled down and limited the Mariners to a single shot.
Junior Tim Regan beat the clock and found the net while shorthanded to give St. Rose a 3-1 lead after the opening 15 minutes.
In the second period, St. Rose continued to apply pressure.
Toms River North goaltender Corey Finnegan kept the Mariners in the game by stopping 19-of-20 shots faced in the period, but could not provide the offense as well. Finnegan stood tall in finishing the game with 46 saves, less than 24 hours after a 51-save shutout over Southern Regional in the semifinals, but it was not to be in this one.
One shot that did find the net in the period came off the stick of Grant, who slid a backhanded shot into goal on a feed from Sean Grant with 9:09 remaining.
The Roses would score two more in the final frame, with Sean Grant finding the net and Lordi adding his second of the evening.
Lordi had two goals, while both Aidan Grant and Tim Regan had three points each. Regan’s effort earned him tournament MVP honors. Sean Grant had a goal and assist while Mike Frattaroli had a pair of assists. Jack Klunk also added an assist for the tr-op.
St. Rose goaltender Jack Bilancione stopped 16 shots he faced to earn his sixth win of the season.
“We were finally able to put a complete game together,” Hering said. “Forechecking in their zone; stopping their breakouts; playing solid. We did it all very successfully.”
St. Rose / Donovan Catholic / Red Bank Catholic is in the first year as a tri-op program. After a season in which two of the programs ranked among the bottom of the state’s parochial programs, the newly minted tri-op remains one of nine New Jersey teams that remain undefeated as the calendar flips to 2020.
“We need to use this week as a building block with some really tough games coming up,” Hering said. “We have teams like Monroe and Manasquan ahead and those games are circled on our calendar. We need to take the positives out from this tournament and continue to build on them.”
“We have some hard games coming up, and we just have to build off this win,” Lordi said.
With a new team consisting of kids from three different non-public schools in the Shore Conference, there were bound to be some growing pains. Through eight games playing in what is arguably the Shore’s most difficult division; St. Rose has simply been one of the better teams in the state. Now, they have a championship that boasts that success.
“It is remarkable how quickly everyone has come together and gelled as a group,” Hering said of the first year program. “We are building a family aspect and a winning culture that these guys didn’t really get to experience with both programs struggling last season.”
“We knew coming into this tournament that being the one-seed, if we played the way we have been playing then we could take home first place,” Regan said.
St. Rose defeats Toms River North 6-1 to win the 2019 Winding River Holiday Tournament. @ShoreConfHockey @Hockey_Clan @AndrewKoobHS @WindingRiverice @StRoseIceHockey @trnpuck #NJHockey pic.twitter.com/cPBcUswIgV
1-0 St. Rose E – Chris Lordi (Aidan Grant, Tim Regan) 13:49 1st
1-1 TRN PP – Justin Ervelli (Cole Schneider, Anthony DeFalco) 5:13 1st
2-1 St. Rose E – Jack Foote (Mike Frattaroli, Tim Regan 4:13 1st
3-1 St. Rose SH – Tim Regan (unassisted) 0:16 1st
4-1 St. Rose PP – Aidan Grant (Sean Grant, Mike Frattaroli) 9:09 2nd
5-1 St. Rose E – Sean Grant (Aidan Grant) 9:39 3rd
6-1 St. Rose E – Chris Lordi (Jack Klunk) 1:37 3rd
— HockeyClan (@Hockey_Clan) December 27, 2019
— HockeyClan (@Hockey_Clan) December 27, 2019
Winding River Holiday Tournament Recap
(2) Southern Regional 4 – (7) Brick Township 1
(3) Toms River North 6 – (6) Jackson Memorial 5
(4) Wall Township 4 – (5) Jackson Liberty / Point Boro 3
(1) St. Rose / Donovan Catholic / RBC 4 – (8) Brick Memorial 1
(6) Jackson Memorial 10 – (7) Brick Township 0
(5) Jackson Liberty 6 – (8) Brick Memorial 2
(3) Toms River North 1 – (2) Southern Regional 0
(1) St. Rose 4 – (4) Wall Township 3 (OT)
(8) Brick Memorial 6 – (7) Brick Township 3
(5) Jackson Liberty 6 – (6) Jackson Memorial 1
(2) Southern Regional 2 – (4) Wall Township 0
(1) St. Rose 6 – (3) Toms River North 1
Written by Casey Krish / @CaseyKrish
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