December 17, 2002
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Tenafly's perfect start includes win over PC

Tuesday, December 17, 2002

By Cory K. Doviak Editorial Director

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Tenafly defenseman Carl Hediger had a goal as the Tigers improved to 4-0 on the season.

HACKENSACK -- Last season was the best in the short but so-far successful history of the Tenafly ice hockey program and the Tigers were rewarded for it. Tenafly posted a 20-4-1 record and won the Northern Conference-White Division title, earning its third straight league crown in its fourth year if existence.

The other side of all that success came this year when the Tigers were bumped up in class to the more competitive Red Division.

"We knew what we were in for, we knew there were quality teams here (in the Red Division)," said Andy Escala, who has been the Tenafly head coach since the program's inception. "We've won with our defense in the past and we knew that, moving up in divisions, our defense was going to be even more important."

So far so good as, with Monday night's 4-0 blanking of Paramus Catholic, Tenafly stayed unbeaten and unscored upon through the season's first four games.

PC goalie Chris Ceransky (right) scrambling to make one of his 34 saves.

"We work from the defense first. That is what we focus on, we try to play solid defense and let the offense take care of itself," said Carl Hediger, the defenseman who scored twice for Tenafly on Monday night. "Tonight was a team effort and you have to credit the offense, too. They had a great forecheck and kept the puck in the (offensive) zone."

While Hediger, Denny Moore and Dave Dilanin, the top three in Tenafly's defensive rotation, held Paramus Catholic without a shot on goal for the first period, Josean Prikazky gave the Tigers the lead for good at 3:02 of the opening period when he finished the assists of Greg Dexter and Dilanin.

Paramus Catholic's Jared Canestrale maneuvering in the offensive zone.

For the game, Tenafly held a 38-12 advantage in shots and had just four penalties to PC's eight, six in the last two periods. After Hediger scored unassisted to give Tenafly a 2-0 lead in the second period, Dexter made the Paladins pay for a penalty when he scored on the power play with assists going to Mike Kronfeld and Moore.

After 30 minutes, Tenafly had a 3-0 lead and a 26-4 advantage in shots on Paramus Catholic (1-4-1), a team playing on the second night of back-to-back games. On Sunday PC erased a four-goal, first-period deficit to earn a tie against Pascack Valley, but there was no such comeback on Tuesday as Tenafly goalie Tyler Lang stopped all 12 shots that came his way.

With his team's smothering defense, Lang hasn't been called upon often, but he has been up to every challenge so far.

Senior goalie Tyler Lang stopped all 12 shots that came his way on Monday night and has not allowed a goal this season.

"He's one of the best goalies around, but he doesn't get the respect he deserves, in my opinion," said Escala. "We've been able to score goals so he gets overlooked, but he makes big plays for us and we count on him. When you are winning games 4-0, 5-1 like we have, people have a tendency to overlook the goalie."

Lang knows his toughest work lies ahead.

"The shots against me have not been there yet and you have to credit the defense for that," said Lang, one of eight seniors on the Tenafly roster. "But I know the schedule is going to get tougher the rest of the way. We just have to stay focused, it's a long season."

Tenafly's Dave Dilanin had two assists and helped anchor the Tigers' defense.

The 4-0 record (3-0 in the division) and 180 consecutive minutes of holding the opposition scoreless make just about the perfect start for Tenafly, but the Tigers now enter a tough stretch where they will play defending division co-champ Lakeland, St. Joseph Regional and Pope John in the next three games.

"We said coming into the game that our season started to night in our first game against a parochial school," said Hediger. "In that way this was a big win for us and we just want to keep it going from here."

For Paramus Catholic, Chris Ceransky made 34 stops against Tenafly and kept his team in the game, despite repeated powerplays as the Paladins were sent to the box eight times to just four penalties for Tenafly.

PC has played a brutal schedule to this point with two of its losses coming to Pope John and the other to Paramus. It doesn't figure to get much easier with games against Don Bosco Prep and St. Joseph Regional in two of the next three.

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