NJSIAA Ice Hockey Champions Crowned at Prudential Center
Non-Public Final: Delbarton (4) vs. Don Bosco Prep (2) – Outshot 26-9 through the first two periods of play and 35-16 for the game did not deter Delbarton. The Green Wave tied the game up 2-2 with 54.8 seconds left in the second period on a goal by defenseman Jalen Kaplan.
“After we tied it up we know what we needed to do,” said Kaplan. “This team throughout the year has been in every situation possible and really prepared for this game and showed.”
In the third period, initially denied on a sensational save by Ironmen goaltender Max Schwartz, Delbarton forward Hunter Macy collected a loose rebound and stuffed the puck short side past Schwartz with 12:29 remaining.
“Super important to tie it up at 2-2, were a little down when they went up 2-1 and knew if we tied it up at 2-2 in the third we could will our way back and get that third goal,” Macy said. “Nick Siffringer came down and made a great play and drove it down to Brendan Clark and Clark shot it off one of the defenseman’s foot and fortunately popped out in front of me and fortunately popped out in front of me and put in the back of the net.”
Holding on to a 3-2, Don Bosco had one last opportunity with Siffringer in the penalty box on an interference call, the Ironmen pulled Schartz to make it a 6 on 4 situation but Delbarton’s defense along with goaltender Kenny Burgess shut the door closed. Defenseman Bayard Hall sealed the victory and Green Wave third straight state championship with an empty netter with 38 seconds left.
Public A Final: Hunterdon Central (5) vs. Woodbridge Township (1) – Hunterdon Central wasted no time jumping out to the lead scoring 53 seconds into the contest on goal from Scott Schnell. A little over three minutes later Chris Del Gazo skated into Woodbridge Township’s zone and blasted a laser shot past goaltender Adam Godfrey.
Woodbridge managed to trim the lead with less than five minutes left in the period on a goal by defenseman Travis Bensi. The only goal of the second period would come on a spectacular play by Hunterdon Central’s Eric Szanto spinning around the defense and rifling the puck short side.
In the third period, Schnell took over the game by himself, on a three on one going top shelf past Amato on a wrist shot 1:08 in. Schnell completed the hat trick with less than eight minutes left with another precision-guided wrist shot. Hunterdon Central goaltender made 14 saves as the school won their first state championship.
“Amazing to get a hat trick but wouldn’t be able to do it without my teammates and hard work they did,” said Scott Schnell. “They set up the puck for me that was caused all by turnovers. Noah Dominick was amazing and in my opinion the best goalie in the state and playing with him since I was little and Pee-Wee together. To allow one in the state championship game for him and our defense, we wanted to make school history since we came in as freshman and saw a blank spot on the banners.”
Public B Final: Northern Highlands (1) vs. Randolph (0-) – Seeking their first state championship in school history, Northern Highlands certainly got off to a great start early in the first period on a goal from Cormac Cindrich, picking up a loose puck and firing the puck top shelf past Randolph goalie Scott Kimiecik with 9:52 left.
For the next 40 minutes, the game turned into a goaltending duel between Kimiecikv(15 saves) and Highlanders goalie John Werber, both goalies making remarkable saves but in the end Werber won the battle making 19 saves and earning the shutout victory.
“I can’t believe this happening right now and didn’t think that I was going to get the game winner,” said Cindrich. “I saw the puck come out towards me and I knew I had to get a shot off and get it on net and went in. I was really happy and pumped up to get the first one. They were some shaky moments tonight and found a way to get it done.”
Public C Final: Summit (3) vs. Chatham (0) – If you looked at the stats sheet at the end of the game you would have thought Chatham won the Public C Final, outshooting Summit convincingly 32 to 8. However, Summit raced out to a quick advantage and never let go.
With 4:34 left in the first period, Will Vitton brilliantly poked the puck one-handed off a shot from teammate Johnny Puskar into the net. 2:21 later Greg Spitznagel made a spectacular move coming from behind the back of the net and stuffing the puck into the net. Spitznagel added to his total with an empty net goal with 52.3 seconds remaining in the third period as Summit won their first state championship since 2012 and second in program history.
“It’s an honor and pretty indescribable, we got a great team and coaching staff and they deserve this one,” said Spitznagel. “Our game plan was to get out to an early lead, fore check and make sure they don’t have any room to skate.”
Sunil Sunder Raj
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