Survive and Advance! Don Bosco Prep Gets By Seton Hall, 5-3, in NJSIAA State Semifinals

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MORRIS TOWNSHIP, NJ — You own it, you better never let it go. You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow. This opportunity comes once in a lifetime. — Marshall Mathers

Don Bosco Prep achieved what no other Ironmen team had ever accomplished, capturing the first state title in team history last season — a championship 54 years in the making, and now, it will get a chance to defend it.

Connor Sedlak scored twice, Sal Guzzo, Arthur Tsimerman and Ryan Fine also hit while Michael Rubin dished out three assists as second-seeded Don Bosco Prep, No. 2 in The Hockey Night in Boston Top 10, survived a very resilient sixth-seeded Seton Hall Prep squad, 5-3, in the semifinals of the NJSIAA Non-Public Tournament at Mennen Arena in Morris Township.

The Ironmen will meet Christian Brothers Academy with the state title on the line on Monday, March 9 at 6:30 p.m. at Prudential Center.

(Photo by Mark Carosiello/HockeyClan)

“We all knew we had it in us,” Sedlak said. “It’s awesome. We have a lot of new guys on this team and we want nothing more than for those guys to experience what we did last year.”

“We fought through adversity pretty well there and bounced back at the end,” Rubin said. “(Seton Hall) has a great team, they brought a great crowd tonight but we did a great job of feeding off their momentum and flipping it to our side. It was a great game.”

Making its first state semifinal appearance in 14 years, Seton Hall Prep seized the initiative and took the lead just 6:18 into the game when Kyle Bishop scored after an off-sides was waved off early in the first period.

Sedlak tied it with 3:03 to go in the first, assisted by Rubin and Lukas Klemm.

(Photo by Mark Carosiello/HockeyClan)

“Rubin and I had a little pass play. He dished it off to Klemm who had a rip on net. It slipped through and was just sitting there in the crease. I just tapped it in,” Sedlak said. “Nothing but respect for that Seton Hall team. They could not have come out any stronger.”

Guzzo gave the Ironmen its first lead of the game on the power play 6:18 into the second. Once again, Rubin and Klemm set it up.

“We really stressed coming in on making plays off the rush,” Rubin said. “We did a great job, especially on the first goal. Pucks to the net and a great rebound.”

Rubin picked up his third assist of the game when Tsimerman extended the Don Bosco Prep lead to 3-1 with 5:09 to go in the second. The celebration was short-lived, however, because Seton Hall Prep came right back 1:53 to cut it to 3-2 after two.

“Their goalie was pretty solid but we challenged him and made him move side-to-side,” Rubin, with six goals and 17 assists this season, said. “We made a few good plays.”

(Photo by Mark Carosiello/HockeyClan)

Back on the power play in the third, Sedlak cashed in again with his team-leading 20th of the season.

“A power-play pass from the top to the corner. The shot got blocked and it popped out to me,” Sedlak said. “I just shot it on net and found the back of it.”

Again, the Pirates would not go quietly.

Just a minute-and-a-half later Dan Sieman scored a power-play goal of his own, assisted by Tim O’Connell and Will Robinson, to slash the deficit to 4-3.

“They played a really good game, stuck to their grit and just worked it,” O’Connell said. “We weren’t ourselves in the first half, but then we got rolling and kept rolling. Penalties brought us down and that was it.”

Related: Don Bosco Prep Edges Catholic Memorial Behind Marich, Oller

(Photo by Mark Carosiello/HockeyClan)

It was a tremendous run for the sixth-seeded Pirates, which upset third-seeded Bergen Catholic, 3-2, in the quarterfinals. The triumph marked Seton Hall Prep’s first state tournament win over the Crusaders since a 2-1 decision on March 8, 2004.

“We answered back,” O’Connell said. “We didn’t have the best conference games, but in the playoffs we came ready to win and we proved it. We’re back on the map.”

“I’m extremely happy with the way we competed. We fought ’til the last second,” Seton Hall Prep coach Mike Atkinson said. “The compete was there, the attitude, the effort. I have to give a lot of credit to our seniors — they carried a ton of weight.

“We haven’t been a game like this in a long time, 14-15 years. I asked them, ‘When do you think the last time a crowd this big showed up for a Seton Hall Pirate hockey game?‘ I’m glad they got to experience that. Next year, we’ll take one more step.”

Related: Don Bosco Prep Celebrate First-Ever State Title at Awards Banquet

(Photo by Mark Carosiello/HockeyClan)

“People said this might be a trap game,” Don Bosco Prep coach Greg Toskos said. “In no way was this a trap game. Seton Hall deserved every bit to be here. I give them a lot of credit. They worked their butts off to give us a game and it took every bit of our depth to pull this one out. Ethan made a couple big saves when he needed to. It was good to see him bounce back.

“I just really liked the push our guys had. We had a real bounce-back tonight,” Toskos said. “They got that first one, a little lucky, we bounce back. We go up then they get one, we bounce back. They get another, we bounce back. The young guys played really well tonight.”

Related: Banner Night! Don Bosco Scores Opening-Night Win vs. Seton Hall

(Photo by Mark Carosiello/HockeyClan)

Guzzo, Fine and Marich — freshmen — all had big games for the Ironmen. Marich finished with 20 saves for Don Bosco Prep, which improves to 20-7-1. Now, only one hurdle remains in the defense of their state title.

“Obviously, you want to be there every year,” Rubin said. “We pulled it off last year and we’ve been fighting all year to defend our title. It’s very exciting and we’re looking forward to the finish.”

Related: 2020 NJSIAA Tournament Seeds, Bracket and History

(Photo by Mark Carosiello/HockeyClan)

“If we stay calm… we know what they have for us, that CBA team,” Sedlak said. “It’s going to be a great battle and I don’t expect anything less from them. I’m very excited for it.”

“This was the goal we set at the beginning of the year,” added Toskos. “Super excited for these guys — ready to roll.”

Scoring

0-1 SHP Kyle Bishop (unassisted) 8:42-1st

1-1 DBP Connor Sedlak (Lukas Klemm, Michael Rubin) 3:03-1st

2-1 DBP Salvatore Guzzo (Lukas Klemm, Michael Rubin) 8:42-2nd PPG

3-1 DBP Arthur Tsimerman (Michael Rubin) 5:09-2nd

3-2 SHP Sal Betro (Aidan D’Urso, Sal Micciche) 3:14-2nd

4-2 DBP Connor Sedlak (unassisted) 11:45-3rd PPG

4-3 SHP Daniel Sieman (Timothy O’Connell, Will Robinson) 10:15-3rd PPG

5-3 DBP Ryan Fine (Drew Fortescue) 9:04-3rd

Shots: 28-23 Don Bosco Prep; Ethan Marich, DBP, 20 saves; Jake Schunke, SHP, 23 saves

 

 

Written by John Christian Hageny  @JCCSPORTS 

Special to HockeyClan

 

Photos by Mark Carosiello / @SnapthePicture6

 
 

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