Delbarton 2021 preview: Green Wave look to bounce back


Head coach: Bruce Shatel, 20th season. 435-68-41 career record.

Division: Gordon Conference

Last year: Delbarton went through an uncharacteristically down year in 2019-20, as a young roster finished with a 10-10-3 overall record. It lost to Gloucester Catholic in the first round of the Gordon Cup, before falling once again to that same squad in the the NJSIAA Non-Public quarterfinals.

Key losses: Brendan Clark, J.R. Cagnassola, Ben Conrod, Aarman Rigby, Jason Strollo, Ryan Wicker, Mark Darakjy.

This year’s squad: Delbarton returns a ton of promising talent from a year ago, spearheaded by senior goalie Brett Cleaves, who posted a sparkling .920 save percentage last season.

A pair of sophomore forwards in Chase Pirtle (7 g., 9 a.) and Trip Pendy (7 g., 10 a.) figure to take another step forward after solid production as freshmen. Juniors Kai Berezniak (5 g., 13 a.) and James Royse will also be counted on to produce up front. Freshmen Cal Hughes, Dan D’Alessandro and Nick Faccone are also expected to make an immediate impact.

Delbarton always features a strong defense, and this year should be no exception with five returning players on the blue line. Senior Jack Benitez (7 a.), junior Ray Berezniak, sophomore Alex Bosland, senior Grady Burke, and sophomore Sam Hall make up a very strong defensive unit.

Outlook: Last season was one of Delbarton’s toughest in recent memory, as a very young roster failed to reach the NJSIAA Non-Public semifinals for the first time in over 30 years. For a program that had reached five straight state finals from 2o15-2019- including a three-peat from ’16-’18- it was quite a step back. But with the amount of talent returning this season, Delbarton should be well on its way back into the Gordon Cup conversation, although the Gordon Conference, as always will be full of some of the best teams in New Jersey. One of the top goalies around in Cleaves, combined with an experienced defense and some promising young forwards should add up to a bounce-back year for the Green Wave.


Jan. 19 — Don Bosco Prep (Aspen Ice), 4:40 p.m.

Jan. 22 — Pope John (Skyalnds Ice World), 8 p.m.

Jan. 26 — St. Peter’s Prep (Aspen Ice), 4:40 p.m.

Jan. 28 — Princeton Day (Aspen Ice), 4 p.m.

Feb. 1 — Gloucester Catholic (Hollydell Ice Arena), 3:30 p.m.

Feb. 4 — St. Joseph of Montvale (Aspen Ice), 4 p.m.

Feb. 8 — Christian Brothers (Jersey Shore Arena), 4:25 p.m.

Feb. 10 — Seton Hall Prep (Codey Arena), 4 p.m.

Feb. 11 — Hun (Aspen Ice), 4 p.m.

Feb. 16 — Bergen Catholic (Aspen Ice), 4:40 p.m.

Feb. 18 — St. Augustine (Aspen Ice), 4 p.m.

Feb. 23 — Morristown-Beard (Aspen Ice), 4:40 p.m.

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