We are now almost a full two weeks into the Shore Conference Hockey season. With many exciting games thus far; let’s look at some teams around the Shore and where they currently stand.
1 Christian Brothers Academy (Record 6-1) (5-0 Class A North )
Although CBA had a close game with Manalapan where the Colts let a 3-1 lead slip away, they have managed to not only stay undefeated in SC play. However, they have posted four straight shutouts since then. In games against, Marlboro, Freehold Twp, Howell, and Manalapan; the Colts are 4-0. In addition, they have outscored Shore Conference competition with a goal differential of 39-3 since losing a Gordon conference match with Don Bosco Prep in a 4-3 decision.
The Colts have always played great on the blue line and recently Goaltender Michael Cernero has been a brick wall. He has posted a .969 save percentage thus far this season. The Colts have gotten plenty of offense through Ryan Bogan, Ryan Tierney, Chris Hayes, Nic Dietrich, Liam Noonan, Derek Contessa, and Cristian Winters.
The Colts will play Gordon Conference rival Delbarton in a rematch of last year’s Non-Public State Final on Wednesday.
2 Middletown North ( Record 4-0) ( 4-0 Class A-north )
After winning last years Public B tournament, the Lions have re-emerged as one of the states best teams. The Lions have yet to lose this year; and are anchored by one of the best all-around players in the state of NJ in Bobby Hampton. Khristian Acosta has been a valuable asset for this team. He is averaging one goal per game.
In Shore Conference play, Middletown North have beaten Howell, Manalapan, Middletown South, and Marlboro outscoring their opponents 21-6. The main event will be on January 4th as Middletown North will battle CBA at Jersey Shore Arena.
3 Howell (Record 3-1) (2-1 Class A-North)
The Howell Rebels lost last years NJ leading scorer Kyle Hallbauer. However, Tim Clifton has been a valuable scoring option for the Rebels as their only loss has been to CBA. Clifton Made his presence known immediately; scoring 3 goals against Freehold Township in his Howell debut. With a goaltender in Bobby Dovenero, the Rebels should always be considered dangerous as he has plenty of defensive help to back him up as well.
The Rebels have allowed 8 goals this season compared to the 18 that they have scored themselves. Howell will also have one more crack against CBA on January 2nd as well as a meeting with Middletown North on January 12th. I expect these games to be competitive as the Rebels will attempt to make things a little tighter in the Race for A-North.
4 Red Bank Catholic (Record 1-2-2) (1-0-1)
After losing Brandon Rozzi and Todd Goehring along with a few other key players in 2015, it was clear that the Caseys would have to rely on some newcomers to contribute this season. In their home opener, Red Bank Catholic was able to score two consecutive goals by Evan Hoey and Alec Mintz to end the game in a 3-3 tie. As we have seen, offense has not been much of a worry for an RBC team that has scored 16 goals thus far into the season. However, playing defense has been the achilles heel for a Red Bank Catholic team that gave up 9 goals to St Joseph’s Metuchen.
RBC is definitely one of the most dangerous teams in the Shore. Everyone can definitely recognize the amount of potential that this team has. The Caseys will have to work hard if they want to keep pace in A-Central. A win against St John Vianney should make the race for the division more interesting.
5 St Rose (Record 3-2) ( 2-2 Class A-Central)
St Rose is currently right in the mix with a 3-2 record. The Co-OP with Donovan Catholic has really created many opportunities for a lot of players to make an impact on the ice. Alex Phipps has been a leader for this team. As a sophomore, he continues to grow as a contributor. Steve Wallace, Boomer Cassidy, Joe Trilli, and Mike Venditolli have all been clutch scorers as this team that has scored 17 total goals. The Roses have allowed 14 total goals. Defensively, they will have to be better to make a run for the A-Central title. Cassidy and Phipps will give this team an excellent chance.
St Rose will have a key stretch of games coming up. They will play St Joseph-Montvale, and Seton Hall Prep before taking on St John Vianney in an A-Central battle. They have victories over RFH, Freehold Township, and Manasquan.
6 Southern Regional (Record3-0-1) (2-0-1 Class A-South)
Southern has yet to lose in the 2015-2016 season. The Rams are off to a great start with victories over Roxbury, Toms River North, and Brick Memorial. The offense has scored 21 goals this season. This is an impressive number as Southern has found many contributors this season. Nicholas Englebert, Hunter Bello, Joe Cajzer and Jack Conrad have been clutch for this team. Matt Scalvino and Paul Keyes have also had multi-goal games in 2015-2016. Paul LaGuardia has been impressive this season in Net for the Rams. LaGuardia and Cameron Conrad have combined to give up only 8 goals.
While the Rams have been one of the best teams in the Shore Conference, they have many tests coming up on their schedule. Brick, St John Vianney, RBC, and Jackson Memorial will all be big games for a team that is looking to earn a high seed in this year’s Shore Conference Tournament.
7 Brick (Record 3-1) ( 3-0 Class A-South)
The Dragons have a long history of being a top public School in the Shore Conference. Like Southern, Brick Twp is undefeated in division play. Their most recent victory came against Jackson Memorial in a 5-3 decision at the Ocean Ice Palace. Michael Mooney, Hunter Price and Noah Reiss all scored in this game as the Dragons secured a spot in the NJSR top 10.
The Dragons offense has been impressive this season. Their 27 goals have been impressive along with a defense and goaltending that has only allowed 11 goals. With Brick coming in at No 7, we can analyze the remaining schedule for the Dragons as they look to take over as the leaders in A-South. Brick will be challenged by RBC, St John Vianney, Southern, and Middletown North in the next couple weeks. They will have to play well to challenge Southern for the division title.
8 RFH (Record 2-1)( 2-1 Class A-Central)
RFH started the season with a 4-3 loss to St Rose. However, since then the Bulldogs have been able to secure two straight wins to put them in the tight A-Central Race. The Bulldogs come in at No 8 because of a great competitive edge. The Bulldogs have plenty of talent; all of which was revealed in a 7-3 victory over SJV.
Robbie Garavente had a big game against SJV with two goals and two assists for Rumson-Fair Haven. They opened up with a 4-0 lead in the first period. This was impressive in showing just how volatile the RFH offense has been this season. Conor Deverin had a hat trick to lead Rumson-Fair Haven to a 7-3 win. They have scored 16 total goals this season.
RFH will have their hands full the rest of the way in a tough A-Central division. Pt Boro, RBC, St Rose, Howell, and Freehold Township all remain on the schedule. These are certainly games that will be entertaining to watch as they will have huge division implications as we get deeper into the season. As for now, the Bulldogs are playing solid hockey and have landed as the No 8 team in the NJSR Power Rankings.
9 SJV (Record2-2) ( 2-1 Class A-Central)
St John Vianney started off the season 2-0. Normally after two straight losses, a team would be dropped off of the Top 10. However, the Lancers have shown the ability to win by defeating a strong Pt Pleasant Boro team. The Lancers were able to win with a 3-2 decision in which Jeremy had a 40 plus save performance to hold off a Pt Boro rally.
After losing to RFH, SJV showed that they were able to hang with the best of the best in a 4-1 loss to St Joseph-Montvale. The Lancers have enough young talent to make a run in a division where anyone can string a few wins together.
Max Allen and John Gelatt have been a scoring threat for the Lancers as they have accumulated 11 goals this season.
10 Jackson Memorial (Record 2-1-1) ( 1-1-1 Class A-South)
The Jaguars come in at No 10 in the NJSR Power Rankings. Jackson Memorial has emerged as an exciting team this season. After defeating Pt Boro in a scrimmage, the Jaguars were able to pick up wins against Toms River East and Brick Twp. In dominating fashion, Jackson Memorial used an 11 goal effort to put them at 2-0-1 on December 11th. It was these two victories along with a 4-4 tie against Southern Regional that helped put the Jaguars into the rankings.
With an entire A-South schedule to play, teams like Middletown North, Brick, and St Rose could present a challenge to a team that has been able to move the puck posting a sufficient amount of offense. This team will rely on guys like Trevor Cear, and Nick Swain to be pivotal in the offense. Matt Pousson has been a factor behind the net as well for the Jaguars.
That rounds out the NJSR Top 10! Make sure to follow us throughout the hockey season for news and updates!