Morris-Sussex Hockey Report 3 stars of the week and Top 5 rankings, Dec. 12

Each week of the 2021-22 season, The Morris-Sussex Hockey Report will honor its Three Stars of the Week. We will also have our rankings of the Top 5 teams in the area. You can find out who made the cut this week below.

THREE STARS OF THE WEEK

Tristan Aikenhead, Mendham, F, Sr.
Mendham knocked off Randolph for the first time in nearly 13 years on Saturday, and Aikenhead was right in the middle of it. The standout forward netted two goals in his team’s 5-2 victory, and has three goals and an assist to his name through his team’s first three games this year.

Nicholas Cioce, Mount Olive-Hopatcong-Hackettstown, F, Jr.
Cioce and his Mount Olive-Hopatcong-Hackettstown squad have gotten off to a blistering start, outscoring its opponents Newton-Lenape Valley and Vernon by a combined score of 19-2. Cioce has been the team’s leading scorer thus far, with six goals and two assists for a total of eight points to his name in his team’s first two games.

Jase Zangara, Randolph, F, Fr.
The freshman has emerged as Randolph’s top scoring threat in the early part of the season, amassing a team high of five goals and two assists. Four of those goals came in the team’s 9-2 win over Roxbury on Wednesday.

Players cannot make this list two weeks in a row.

To nominate players for the Three Stars of the Week, coaches are asked to e-mail Mike Gurnis at michaelgurnis@gmail.com by 12 p.m. each Saturday.

TOP 5 RANKINGS
1-Delbarton (4-0-1)
Delbarton has continued its impressive start to the season, as it rallied from a two-goal deficit to tie state-No.2 Christian Brothers, 2-2. It followed that up with a dominant 6-1 win over Pingry. It has a big week ahead, as it will take on Seton Hall Prep and Don Bosco Prep back-to-back on Monday and Tuesday, before traveling to Massachusetts to take on Malden Catholic and Catholic Memorial next weekend.

2-Morris Knolls-Hills (4-0)
Knolls-Hills picked up another pair of victories this week, beginning with a dominant 8-1 win over Mennen foe Madison. Then, it rolled to a 5-0 win over Indian Hills. A huge Mennen tilt with Chatham on Tuesday night looms, before a battle with Kinnelon-Jefferson-Sparta on Friday.

3-Pope John (2-1-1)
The Lions opened the week with a 5-2 loss to a strong Seton Hall Prep squad on the road. It bounced back by earning a 2-2 tie with state-ranked St. Joseph of Montvale, before picking up a big 4-0 win over St. Joseph of Metuchen. It will take on one of the state’s top public teams in Northern Highlands, before a few big Gordon Conference games against Christian Brothers and St. Augustine.

4-Morristown (3-0-1)
The previously-unranked Colonials join the rankings this week after a big 3-2 win over cross-town rival Morristown-Beard, it’s first win over the Crimson since 2015-16. To date, it holds wins over Madison from the Mennen Division, as well as perhaps its top competitor in the Halvorsen in Mendham. It has a busy week ahead, beginning with a key Halvorsen game against a strong Mountain Lakes-Boonton squad, followed by tilts with Gov. Livingston and Madison.

5-Morristown-Beard (3-2)
The Crimson dropped to the No. 5 spot (previously No. 3) by virtue of its head-to-head loss to Morristown on Friday. It did knock off Mendham, 5-3 on Monday. It has stumbled a bit out of the gate due to injuries and other factors, but has a big chance to right the ship this week with games against Westfield, Randolph, and Chatham ahead.

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