FARMINGDALE — Winning is contagious. It starts in practice with preparation and breeds fast and furious in the locker room. And once the players catch the bug, the victories start to pile up.
Gleb Veremyev and Anthony Zito each scored twice and Samuel Fishteyn added a goal and three assists as Monroe stayed true to its winning ways with a 7-1 triumph over Freehold Township at Howell Ice Arena.
Jacob Bailey and Vincent Foresta also found the back of the net while James Siravo made 39 saves as Monroe improves to 7-1-1 and extends its unbeaten streak to six games (5-0-1) dating to Dec. 9.
“I am extremely impressed with our play tonight,” Fishteyn, a senior, said. “We came out of the gate with 100 percent intensity and put in three goals in the first period. Our forecheck was hard and we capitalized on turnovers and created many odd-man rushes.
“Tonight we faced one of the better teams on our schedule and our team really pulled through,” Fishteyn, with a team-leading 26 goals and 34 points, said. “We used our skill and speed to win.”
Monroe wasted little time striking first as Fishteyn set up Veremyev just 3:02 into the game. The playmaking senior then set up Bailey 1:21 later and Zito connected again with 1:01 left in the opening frame as the Middlesex County team took a 3-0 lead into the first intermission.
Both teams upped the ante in a physical second period that saw nine penalties distributed, including two majors, totaling 29 minutes as the sin bin became a revolving door. It remained a 3-0 game until Fishteyn scored with 2:49 left as the Falcons extended its lead to four after two periods of play.
With Freehold Township on the power play to begin the third period, Monroe put an end to any hopes of a third-period comeback as Zito scored his second goal of the game, shorthanded, from Fishteyn 1:11 into the final frame. Foresta made it 6-0 just over two minutes later before Freehold finally solved Siravo when Zach Neron scored with an assist from Michael Sullo with 11:03 remaining in regulation.
Veremyev added his second of the game and 15th of the season with 3:00 left to cap the scoring.
“I don’t think it’s been better than this,” Monroe head coach Jerry Minter, in his 13th season, said. “We’ve been coming in with a lot of confidence and we’re starting to put a lot of pucks in the net. Gleb and Sam are obviously a big part of our offensive production, they move the puck very well together, but we have a lot of players who can put the puck in the back of the net.”
With the added firepower from Zito, Bailey and Foresta, Minter has flexibility moving Veremyev and Fishteyn in and out of key situations.
“Gleb and Sam put up most of our points,” Minter said, “They rotate in and out depending on where we need them, but we have a lot of kids that can shoot the puck — and shoot it well.”
In addition to the firepower up front, Monroe has been getting some strong play from Siravo in between the pipes.
“He had some unbelievable — unreal — saves,” Minter added. “A scramble when the puck was rolling back to the goal line and he just swiped it away with his stick — he played great.”
After beginning the season with five straight wins, Freehold Township is 0-3-1 in its last four games.
“We have been plagued with injuries from the first game,” Freehold Township coach Michael Celano said. “Between concussions, broken collarbones and most recently the flu bug… it’s the ups and downs of hockey.”
The Patriots outshot Monroe 40-24.
“Their goalie had a great game and was able to make some very big saves,” Celano said.
Freehold Township, now 5-3-1, will look to get back on track against Howell on Dec. 22.
Monroe went 15-9-1 last season. The Falcons defeated Hillsborough in the NJSIAA Public A Sweet-16 before falling to eventual state champion, Hunterdon Central, in the Elite Eight. After last season’s success, Monroe’s run right out of the gates has optimism at an all-time high.
“The past few years, with the type of players we have and with how we want to play the game… we expected this last year,” Minter said. “But this year we’re off to a good start and we have a lot of confidence right now.”
“Freehold Township is a physical team and we matched their big hits with bigger hits,” Fishteyn said. “Our forecheck was hard and we pressed them the whole time. We kept the pressure and intensity, and despite a chippy game with many penalties, we pulled through.”
Monroe is back in action against Wall Township on Dec. 21. at Jersey Shore Arena.
Pre game warmups here at Howell Ice Arena for @MonroeHSHockey vs @FTHSHockey @NJ_Hockey @HockeyAdvantage @ShoreConfHockey @CaseyKrish @Hockey_Clan @JSNSPORTINGNEWS #NJHockey #MONvsFT pic.twitter.com/2Gyn7DZwAa
Written by John Christian Hageny / @JCCSPORTS
Special to HockeyClan
Main Image: Monroe goalie James Siravo makes the pad save in a game against Freehold Township at Howell Ice World. (Tom Smith/TSPsportsimages.com)
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