December 19, 2002
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Bergen Catholic beats distractions and SJ-Vianney

Thursday, December 19, 2002

By Jim McConville Staff Writer

HACKENSACK - The Bergen Catholic ice hockey team received plenty of pre-season hype, but the Crusaders are proving that the early talk has merit, as they continue to roll through their early season schedule. They upped their record to 4-0 overall and 3-0 in the Gordon Conference with a 6-0 shutout over St. John Vianney (1-3 overall and 1-3 in the Gordon), and they did it without the services of two of their top players for significant portions of the game.

Anthony Randazzo went out in the final seconds of the first period after breaking his nose on a freakish play. Two players collided at mid-ice chasing the puck, and while both held on to their sticks, they both came flying backwards.

One of the sticks caught an onrushing Randazzo, the stepson of head coach Dan May, in the face guard, and the force of the stick hitting the metal protector was so strong that it bent the mask two inches in. The mask and the stick hit him square on the bridge of the nose, opening a gash as well as breaking it.

Jason May, the coach's other son on the team, wasn't injured, but received a minor plus a misconduct penalty that left him in the penalty box for a 12-minute stretch from the middle of the first period into the second period.

All of this happened after BC had taken a 1-0 lead on Randazzo's sixth goal of the season 3:11 into the game. He worked a pretty give and go with John Goffredo, who returned the pass to Randazzo on the right side. He cut in and beat Lancer goalie Dan Tacopino to the short side. Where many teams would have trouble down two major contributors, Bergen got a solid overall team effort and had a couple of individuals step up offensively in Casey Giblin and Tim Keough, who both scored their first goals of the year.

In addition, Ian O'Connell took Randazzo's place on the first line with Goffredo and Doug Lunau, and he scored the second Crusader goal 1:20 into the second period. There was a big scramble in front of the net, and he poked one home for his fourth of the year.

Giblin made it 3-0 with 1:06 left in the middle frame, as Ben O'Donnell sent a dump pass into the Lancer zone that Giblin retrieved on the left circle and came in 2 on 0 before beating Tacopino low.

Keough then scored a pair of third period goals, both coming off opportune tips. The first made it 4-0 with 1:03 gone in the period, as he tipped in an Octavian Jordan shot from the left circle. Giblin picked up an assist on the play, as he did on Keough's other score that made it 6-0 with 3:20 left in the game.

Giblin took a hard shot that Tacopino managed to stop, but the resulting rebound came to Keough camped on the doorstep and he poked it home. O'Donnell got credit for the second assist. Sandwiched in between the Keough scores was a goal by Lunau, who took a Giblin feed and crossed in front before firing home his fifth goal of the season.

"That was a very solid team effort, the kids played really well," May said. "We think we should be a very physical and intimidating team, and that's what we were today. This was the first game this year where we laid it all out there. Maybe losing Anthony, guys realized they had to do a little more."

While the Crusaders were scoring, the third period also was about Stephen Ritter's chances for his first shutout. The sophomore got the whitewash, but not without a solid save on a breakaway Bergen Catholic by Nick Zaires with 2:45 left in the game.

The Crusaders are right back on the ice (minus Randazzo) tomorrow afternoon when they head to Lawrence to face LaSalle in an independent game. After that, they do not play again until January 3, when they head to Mennen Arena to face defending state champion Delbarton in a matchup of the top two teams in New Jersey.

"Last year we felt maybe we peaked a little bit early, went to hard, played up in Maine (over the Christmas holiday)" May explained, "so this year we decided that we'll take a 14-day break. We've been going hard since November 15th, and hopefully we'll peak at the right time in March." Information Box:

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