December 12, 2002
March 21,
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Bergen Catholic quick off the draw, again

Thursday, December 12, 2002

By Jim McConville
NJS.com Staff Writer

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Bergen Catholic goalie Stephen Ritter looking through traffic in front of his net.

HACKENSACK -- Bergen Catholic ice hockey coach Dan May is a big believer that December games are not about winning, but more about finding the pulse of his team. In fact, he admitted to actually watching and analyzing more than coaching the Crusaders on Wednesday evening against Seton Hall Prep.

What he saw was a team that, as it had in its first two games, came rushing out of the gate with three quick goals, and while most coaches would be gratified, he saw it as a prelude to trouble.

He was correct, as the Pony Pirates came back to tie the game in the third period, but Bergen is a deep and talented team, and the tie lasted only 49 seconds before the Crusaders re-took the lead and went on to a 5-3 triumph at the Ice House in Hackensack.

The Gordon Conference victory puts BC at 2-0 in the league standings (3-0 overall), and follows wins of 9-0 over Morristown Beard and 10-1 over St. Joseph of Metuchen in the first two outings.

"It's almost a case of too much, too soon," was May's assessment of the early goal barrage. "You get that 3-0 lead and we're cringing on the bench because it's just too early in the game to have that big a lead."

The first shift wasn't even completed before the Crusaders hit the scoreboard, as senior Anthony Randazzo scored 45 seconds in off assists from sophomores John Goffredo and Mike O'Brien. Seton Hall (1-2 overall and in Gordon play) then took two early penalties and paid dearly for both, as Bergen Catholic scored on their first shot on both power plays.

Seton Hall Prep goalie Kevin Bendel gave up just two full strength goals.

The first was scored by Goffredo, who took passes from senior Dan May and junior Doug Lunau and banged home his fifth goal of the young season 23 seconds into the extra man situation at 2:32 into the game. Less than three minutes later, Lunau was set up by Randazzo and senior Ben O'Donnell for his fourth in the first three games just 15 seconds into the penalty at the 5:19 mark.

"We have three different formations that we can throw at you," May explained, "and all five guys out there can score, so you never know where the shots are coming from."

To its credit, Seton Hall did not roll over and, 7:49 in, the Pony Pirates got a goal back. Sophomore Anthony Ferri fed freshman Nick Lampson for the goal, and the score seemed to give the Pony Pirates renewed vigor. They skated out the rest of the first period and the second period very well, as both teams showed speed up and down the ice. Bergen owned a 12-5 advantage in shots in the middle stanza, but sophomore goalie Kevin Bendel kept them off the scoreboard.

The lone goal of the second period came on the power play, as SHP gave the Crusaders a bit of their own medicine. It took all of five seconds to turn the penalty into a goal, as senior defenseman Adam Haczyk took the puck off the faceoff near the right boards and fired a shot from about 10 feet inside the blue line that beat BC sophomore goalie Stephen Ritter with 1:14 left in the second period.

The Pirates achieved the tie 20 seconds into the third period, as Lampson scored on the power play off a backhand just to the left of Ritter, with Haczyk and junior Ryan Sokerka getting the assists.

"Many times the team up 3-0 like that loses the game," May added, "but I give the team a lot of credit. We gave up the lead but we didn't panic and got the lead right back."

Bergen Catholic has four seniors on this year's roster that were a part of the 2000 state title team.

The go-ahead score came off a steal just inside the blue line by sophomore Ian O'Connell, who came in straight on goal and slapped one past Bendel for his third of the season at the 1:09 mark.

Bergen Catholic then got the insurance goal with 11:12 to go in the game, and it came on the power play (they were 3 for 4 in extra man situations in the game, while the Pirates were 1 for 6). O'Donnell passed to May at the point, and he found Randazzo just to the right of the goal, where he knocked in his second of the game and fifth of the season.

"I think it was a good test, because we found out a lot about ourselves," May said. "We have so many forwards competing for spots and they all can score goals, but in the end its going to come down to who can play a little tighter in the defensive zone."

There will be even more bodies in three weeks, as a pair of transfers will become eligible after sitting out the required 30 days. Sophomore Brian Scholtz, a forward who was a first line player for Paramus last season, and junior goalie Andy O'Connor, from Morristown Beard, will get their first taste of action on January 3rd when BC takes on defending state champion Delbarton.

"Brian is another offensive player in the mix, and Andy should give us a solid 1-2 goalie situation," May noted.


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