Since the Sussex Cup’s inception in 2006, the tournament has been dominated by three of Sussex County’s four public-school teams.
Vernon, Sparta (before merging with Jefferson and Kinnelon), and Newton-Lenape Valley have claimed all of the titles in this tournament.
But this week, that all changed.
The tournament took on a round-robin format for the second year in a row with only three teams participating, after Newton-Lenape Valley won it last winter. It was finally the time to shine for High Point-Wallkill Valley-Kittatinny, as the program won its first Sussex Cup by sweeping its two games against Vernon and Newton-Lenape Valley this week.
Its win over Vernon last Monday saw the team take a 3-0 lead, before surrendering three goals by the end of the second period. But in the third period it regained control on goals from Michael Sadowski and Joshua Custode to claim a 5-3 win. Sadowski had two goals and two assists, while Custode had two goals and an assist and Gordon Shindelman added a goal and two assists.
On Thursday, it defeated Newton-Lenape Valley, 5-0. Gordon Shindelman scored twice with an assist, with Joshua Custode adding a goal and an assist. Sebastian Hamarcak and Alex Sonvico each scored, and Tyler Boffa earned a 13- save shutout to clinch the Sussex Cup.
High Point-Wallkill Valley-Kittatinny is now 4-4 after these two wins, and more importantly- it has the Sussex Cup in its possession for the first time ever.
THREE STARS OF THE WEEK
Tyler Paluzzi, Pope John, G, Sr.: Pope John is currently one of the hottest teams in the state, as it swept a home-and-home with Seton Hall Prep, before taking down Passaic Tech and one of the top public teams in Ramapo. Paluzzi has been at the center of that, posting a .918 save percentage during this stretch.
Casey Connor, Morristown-Beard, G, So.: Connor had one of the best goaltending performances in the area in recent memory last week, when he stopped 63 of 66 shots to lift Morristown-Beard to a 4-3 upset of state-ranked Seton Hall Prep.
Luke Dickerson, Morris Knolls-Hills, F, Jr.: Dickerson has once again shown off his goal-scoring ability this winter, with 10 goals and five assists in seven games for 6-1 Morris Knolls-Hills. He posted four goals and an assist in a 7-3 win over St. Joseph of Metuchen, with a hat trick and an assist in a 9-0 win over Madison and a goal and an assist in a 4-1 win over Wayne.
MORRIS-SUSSEX HOCKEY REPORT TOP 10
2- Chatham (6-0-1)
3- Randolph (3-1-2)
4- Pope John (4-3)
5- Morris Knolls-Hills (6-1)
6- Morristown-Beard (3-4)
7- Mount Olive-Hopatcong-Hackettstown (2-2-1)
8- Morristown (4-2-1)
9- Kinnelon-Jefferson-Sparta (5-1-1)