24th Haas Cup final preview: West Morris vs. Park Regional


2-West Morris (7-8-4) vs. 4-Park Regional (9-9-3)
Monday, 6:15 p.m. at Mennen Arena

Previous meetings: The teams played to a thrilling 3-3 tie on opening day, Dec. 8, before Park Regional earned an impressive 2-1 victory on Jan. 12.

West Morris
— West Morris is the defending Haas Cup champion after defeating Mount Olive-Hopatcong-Hackettstown, 2-1, for the title last winter. In total, it has won two outright Haas Cup titles in 2010 and 2022, with a co-championship with Park Regional in 2011.

Park Regional
— Park Regional has won seven Haas Cup titles, the last coming in 2016. It is in the final for the first time since 2018, when it lost, 4-0 to Montville. Whippany Park, as a standalone school, won a Mennen Cup title in 1985.

West Morris
Benjamin Barnhill (14 g., 16 a.), Zach Knopf (10 g., 18 a.), Tommy Togno (10 g., 14 a.), Layton Cummings (4 g., 8 a.), Jake Salamone (5 g., 6 a.), Jimmy Thompson (1 g., 9 a.)

Goalie: Phil Togno (7-7-4, .901 sv%)

Park Regional
Chase Olszewski (26 g., 9 a.), Mike Monahan (23 g., 14 a.), Michael Capozzi (14 g., 12 a.), Stanley Gelman (7 g., 11 a.), Wyatt Lieto (1 g., 17 a.)

Goalie: Dylan Marion (8-7-1, .872 sv%)

West Morris
The reigning Haas Cup champions have been up-and-down all season, but managed to pull out a dramatic 4-3 win in a shootout over Roxbury in the semifinals to reach this game.

In that game, West Morris did what experienced, championship teams do- it simply found a way. Even after seeing a two-goal lead evaporate in a matter of minutes early in the third to find itself trailing, it got a quick goal to tie it. Then, it prevailed in the shootout thanks to Ben Barnhill’s game-winner and a pair of big saves from Togno.

Even with the ups and downs, West Morris still has a roster that by-and-large went through the experience of winning this game and this tournament last winter. That is invaluable, especially with a four-year starter in goal in Phil Togno. It has plenty of players who can contribute offensively as well, so West Morris has a roster that has a great chance of pulling off the repeat on Monday night.

Park Regional
Park Regional has had- to put it mildly- an interesting road to get to this point.

After a 2-1 win over Gill St. Bernard’s on Jan. 27, it needed just one point in its final two games to hold off Gill for the final Haas Cup spot. It ended up losing both games, and Gill St. Bernard’s won its final three, meaning the teams were tied in the standings at the end. The tiebreaker ultimately went to Park for its 1-0-1 head-to-head record against the Knights in the regular season, and it found its way into the Haas Cup.

Few could have predicted that the team that just snuck into the tournament would have a chance to skate off with the trophy at the end. But a Tom Levis-coached squad is always a tough out in the postseason, and behind a stellar goaltending performance from Dylan Marion as well as a two-goal performance from super freshman Chase Olszewski, Park was able to upset top-seeded BSM in the semis on Stanley Gelman’s overtime goal.

It went into this season with many question marks after graduating some standout players from last year, but it has gotten players to step up- most notably the freshmen class, led by Olszewski and Capozzi, who have burst onto the scene this year.


Expect a very tight, low-scoring game in this one. It’s a battle of two well-coached teams who have matched up well against one another this season, and this has all the makings of a game that should come right down to the wire. West Morris should have the edge in terms of experience with several players back that know what it takes to win this game after doing so last year. But Park Regional has beaten and tied West Morris in the regular season, and it’s a team that is riding high after taking down the top seed in overtime. Even though it is a younger team, it has proven that it is not afraid of the big moments.

Park Regional over West Morris

E-mail Mike Gurnis at michaelgurnis@gmail.com

Donate to the Morris-Sussex Hockey Report via GoFundMe: https://gofund.me/7478f834

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