By Mike Gurnis
NEWARK — Everything changed in the second period for Delbarton.
After a fairly even first period in which it outplayed Christian Brothers for stretches in the Non-Public final, Christian Brothers kicked it into high gear in the second period. It out-shot the Green Wave 20-2 in that frame, and got what proved to be the game-winning goal from Patrick Reilly. Top-seeded Christian Brothers went on to defeat second-seeded Delbarton, 3-0 to win its second-straight Non-Public title at Prudential Center.
“I think (CBA) woke up, end of story,” Delbarton coach Bruce Shatel said. “CBA woke up in the second period and just took over. We were fortunate enough that it was only 1-0 after the second. I thought Jason played unbelievable again. When you don’t capitalize in the first period- I think we had two or three pretty good chances- the momentum swings when Reilly bangs in the rebound to go up 1-0. I think we got a little deflated, and unfortunately we just couldn’t respond from that.”
As much as Delbarton may have wanted to respond and gave every effort to do so, CBA simply didn’t allow it. William Thygeson made it a two-goal lead early in the third, before Patrick Reilly buried his second on an empty-netter late to seal the title and undefeated season for CBA (27-0-3).
“I told them there’s not too much to say,” Shatel said. “We lost to a team that was heavier than us, faster than us, and they were a little bit more determined after the first period. Nothing to be ashamed of, we played hard but it just wasn’t enough against that team.”
It also came despite the best efforts of Delbarton goalie Jason Cai, who made 32 saves in this game and was stellar all season for the Green Wave. It also had to deal with the loss of Trip Pendy, the team’s top forward who was injured in the team’s semifinal win over Don Bosco Prep and was unable to play in Monday’s championship game.
“I know one of (CBA’s) top scorers wasn’t in the lineup,” Shatel said. “One of their kids who did play tonight wasn’t 100 percent. It would’ve been nice to have Trip (Pendy), but no excuse. For us not to get one was disappointing, but I thought the guys did a pretty good job in his place. We would’ve loved to fully armed against CBA, but that’s just the way it goes. It’s a long year and injuries are a part of it.”
Regardless, it was still a resurgent season for Delbarton this season after going 13-15-4 in the last two seasons. A young group, behind a strong junior class led by players such as Trip Pendy, Nick Faccone, Timmy Galvin, Duncan Stewart, and Jason Cai, grew over the past two seasons despite the lack of success.
Now, it should expect most, if not all of that group back next season, meaning the future remains bright for this program.
“I thought it was a pretty good year,” Shatel said. “To be playing on the last day of the season, something went right, right? If there’s a silver lining, there it is. Ultimately, when you get here, it’s so hard to get here. You don’t want to come up short. I think, like I said, they were heavier than us. When their best players are seniors, we were just a little too young to get over that mountain.”
Shatel added, “We’re optimistic that we can build from this. It’s a learning experience. If we’re not motivated after a butt-kicking like that, then nothing will motivate us. But like I said, the second period was the difference. I don’t think we’ve outplayed anybody in a period like they outplayed us. We haven’t been outplayed like that in one period. That was kind of the turning point in the game. We responded a little bit in the third, but not enough.”
CBA — Patrick Reilly (Ray Cartigiano, Evan Brown) 4:42
CBA — William Thygeson (Leighton Biesiadecki, Derek Fiore) 11:33
CBA — Patrick Reilly (John Donohoe) 1:35 ENG
Shots on goal: Christian Brothers 35, Delbarton 22
Saves: Jason Cai (Delbarton) 32, John Donohoe (CBA) 22
Team records: Delbarton 19-6-2, Christian Brothers 27-0-3