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Bergen Catholic claims first-ever Gordon Cup

Sunday, March 2, 2003

By Jim McConville Staff Writer

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Bergen Catholic's John Goffredo (right) scored twice, the last time with 1:19 to play that iced the win.

WEST ORANGE - South Mountain Arena has been a house of horrors for the Bergen Catholic ice hockey team. Heading into the 45th Gordon Cup final on Saturday evening, the Crusaders had never won a game in the West Orange arena.

To make matters worse, BC was facing Seton Hall Prep on their home ice, and due to the recent snow were forced to play as the second seed when they lost two games to weather cancellations. That meant that the Pony Pirates had the last line change.

Furthermore, they were playing on an ice surface that was in very poor condition. There were spots in the rink where the concrete was actually beginning to come through. For a finesse passing and skating team like the Crusaders, it seemed the odds were stacked against them.

That was the bad news. The good news for Bergen was that it was able to put all of that aside and blow out to 5-1 lead before Seton Hall made a game of it late, and took home their first-ever Gordon Cup with a 6-4 victory.

"I thought the guys played pretty well," BC head coach Dan May said. "It's a big accomplishment for us, especially beating them here in their own building. I'm proud of them."

Bergen Catholic (16-1-2) grabbed a quick lead just 1:54 into the game, as Doug Lunau took a pass from Jason May just in front of the left circle and one-timed a shot past Pirate goalie Terry Robinson of Upper Saddle River. Chris Prezioso had the second assist on the play.

Stephen Ritter made 30 saves as BC captured its first Gordon Cup.

"We moved Doug from the right wing to the left wing, and he made me look like a genius," May remarked. "I said, hopefully, you're playing on the left side of the ice with that right-handed shot, that puck's going to come across and you're going to get a one-timer."

Seton Hall (16-6-3) continued to pressure the Crusaders, and it finally paid off on the power play, as Nick Silvestri pounced on the rebound of an Anthony Ferri shot from the right point and deposited his 15th goal of the year past Stephen Ritter at 6:53.

Ritter (30 saves) continued to face plenty of Pirate shots, making five quality saves in the first ten minutes of the game. A Pony Pirate penalty gave the Crusaders the man advantage, and they cashed it quickly at 10:29 to regain the lead.

Anthony Randazzo began the scoring sequence with a pass to Lunau deep on the left side. He found May all alone on the right side, and the senior walked in and beat Robinson for his ninth goal of the season.

"On the power play kill, they like to get all four guys near the puck," the defenseman explained. "Doug was moving up the wall and he picked up his head and saw me cutting down the far side and he made a great pass. I caught the goalie moving to my side and I nicked it off the post."

With time running down in the first period, BC went on another power play and scored again, as Ben O'Donnell found John Goffredo, whose shot trickled behind Robinson. Lunau tapped it into the open net at 14:23 for his ninth of the season, sending Bergen off up 3-1.

Adam Haczyk's first goal of the season helped Seton Hall Prep get back in it.

The Crusaders made it 4-1 on a great individual effort by Ian O'Connell 1:29 into the middle session. Playing shorthanded, he made a steal in center ice and came in on a breakaway, beating Kevin Bendel, who had replaced Robinson (10 saves) at the start of the period, for his seventh goal of the season and first in seven games. Randazzo then made the pass of the game, using his speed to break into the SH zone on the left side. He drew three players to him, and he laid a neat back pass right on Goffredo's stick in front of Bendel. He easily scored at 6:31, and it was 5-1.

"They have a lot of offense, and Stephen did a nice job early on," May added. "Their defensemen did not give their goalie much support, and we were right in on him. Unfortunately, the big lead was almost a curse."

Just 43 seconds after the Goffredo score, the Pirates got one back on a power play, as Ferri tipped in a rebound of a Silvestri shot from the left circle. Adam Gorelick picked up the second assist.

Trailing by three entering the third period, Seton Hall continued to fight back, and they scored 3:33 into the last period when Adam Haczyk's shot from the right point deflected off a Bergen Catholic defenseman for his first goal of the season.

Jason May anchored the BC defense.

His brother, Bryan Haczyk, made it a 5-4 game with 1:43 to go, scoring his 15th of the year when he banged one in off the right post from an angle on the left side. Just when it appeared the Pirates might make it all the way back, BC came up with the clinching score.

O'Donnell sent a clearing pass from deep in the left defensive zone that banged off the right boards in center ice. Goffredo outraced a Pirate defenseman to the puck and quickly shot one top shelf that beat Bendel (13 saves) for his 25th of the season with 1:19 to go.

Seton Hall outshot the Crusaders by a 34-29 margin, and scored on two of four power play chances while giving up the shorthanded tally. BC found the back of the net twice in three man advantage chances.

"The second season is over," May said. "Now we start preparing for the states on Monday. This is nice, but it doesn't compare to the state championship. It's not going to be easy."

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