Saturday evening at Mennen Arena saw some lopsided- and surprising- results.
The day kicked off with Mount Olive-Hopatcong-Hackettstown introducing itself to the Halvorsen Division with a thoroughly dominant 10-0 win over Madison, a team re-entering the Halvorsen after spending last year in the Mennen Division.
Now, before anyone makes any judgements on Madison, there is some important context to consider. The Dodgers were without three of their best players, with the team’s leading scorer in Sam Gero, senior Tyler Shannon, and junior defenseman John Rusen all absent from the lineup.
That being said, it’s hard to not be impressed with what Mo-Ho-Ha did in this game. It out-shot the Dodgers 49-7, and looked every bit of the overwhelming offensive juggernaut that took the Haas Division by storm last season. Liam Murphy- who had five goals all of last season- nearly matched that total in this game, netting four goals.
“There was a whole lot of space,” Murphy said. “I’m a lot more confident and just wanted to shoot it, wanted to score. Just a different play style.”
He added, “We just stretched the ice and pressured them. We pressured them and took off their outlets and easy passes, and we just capitalized.”
A.J. Twist recorded a goal and three assists, Frank Diloreto and Christian Hertzig each had a goal and two assists, as ten different players found their way onto the scoresheet. Nick Gargiulo stopped all seven shots he faced for the shutout. Madison goalie Bryan Worthington played admirably, stopping 39 shots in the loss.
It was a big statement to the Halvorsen Division in Mo-Ho-Ha’s first game. They’ll hope to continue their strong play this week, as it takes on Mountain Lakes-Boonton on Monday, before facing the Mennen Division’s Morristown on Thursday.
“It was very important (to start strong),” Murphy said. “The Haas is a completely different level and to jump up to Halvorsen, we’ve been wanting it. It’s big to win by mercy rule and really let everyone know that we’re here.”
The second game of the day was another lopsided one, with West Morris taking home a 10-3 win over Bernards-Somerville-Middlesex behind a four-goal performance from Ben Barnhill.
West Morris, the reigning Haas Cup champion, bounced back after a 3-3 tie with Park Regional on opening night just two nights earlier. It managed to overwhelm- and at times frustrate- a BSM team that was making the move up to the Haas this season after scoring 127 goals in the Charette last season.
BSM was also riding high after a 9-3 win over Gill St. Bernard’s in its first game. This one, however, was a totally different story, as West Morris built a 4-1 lead by the end of the first period and never allowed BSM to really get comfortable in the game, and deployed a very aggressive forecheck to do so.
Zach Knopf and Tommy Togno each scored twice for the Wolfpack (1-0-1), while Tyler Hill and Layton Cummings each scored. Phil Togno turned aside 19 of 22 shots in the win.
The nightcap was another interesting result, as Montville- which moved down to the Charette after a two-win season last year- took down the Haas’ Park Regional, 5-1.
It was an impressive performance from the Mustangs, who looked like a much different team than a year ago, and largely controlled the run of play in this one. Junior Matthew Trifari led the way with three goals, while Joe Laino had a goal and an assist and Logan Engle also added a goal. Trifari and Engle each buried empty-net goals late to earn some breathing room from what was a two-goal lead in the final minutes.
Alexis Riley stopped 25 of 26 shots in the win.
Over at Skylands Ice World, Roxbury opened up the season with a dominant 10-0 win over Vernon in the first game.
The Gaels, which find themselves in the Haas Division after a last-place finish in the Halvorsen last year, had 11 different players find their names on the scoresheet in this one. Jake Calanni and A.J. Mancuso led the way with two goals and an assist apiece, with Stephen Ellison dishing out three assists and Ryan VanZile scoring a goal with two assists.
In the middle game, High Point-Wallkill Valley-Kittatinny- which is expected to be a top contender for the Charette Cup- opened Charette play with a big 7-0 win over a Parsippany Regional squad which is expected to be much improved this year.
Gordon Shindelman buried four goals for HP-WV-K, with Jake Henningsen adding a goal and two assists and Alexander Mizak chipping in with a goal and an assist. It out-shot Parsippany, 41-8, and Tyler Boffa stopped all eight shots to earn the shutout.
The final game saw Newton-Lenape Valley earn a 4-2 win over Morris Catholic-St. Elizabeth in the Charette opener for both teams.
NLV built a 3-0 lead by the end of the second period. Brayden Dabrowski led the way with two goals and an assist, while Justin Zappe and David Pineda also found the back of the net. Ryan Salerno stopped 28 of 30 shots in the win.
Morris Catholic-St. Elizabeth got a pair of goals from Tyler Gleason and Aidan Dominick late in the game, but was unable to complete the comeback.
E-mail Mike Gurnis at email@example.com
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