Final New Jersey Top 10: Non-Public State Champ Christian Brothers Academy At Top Of The Mountain

Paul Bruno
Paul Bruno
Paul Bruno covered college and high school ice hockey for The Newark (NJ) Star-Ledger from 1988-2012. A 1984 graduate of Seton Hall University, he played collegiate hockey for The Hall in the Metropolitan Collegiate Hockey Conference. He also served as an intern in the New Jersey Devils public relations department during the 1983-84 season. Bruno later coached the Seton Hall University ice hockey team (1985-1987) and has covered the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils training camps as well as the ECAC ice hockey championships in Lake Placid, NY, for the Ledger. Bruno, who has been a contributing hockey writer to New Jersey Monthly Magazine, has covered hockey for Sideline Chatter for the past three seasons.

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New Jersey Top 10

RankTeam[tooltip text="PR*" gravity="ne"]Previous Ranking[/tooltip]WLT
1Christian Brothers Academy12043
2Don Bosco Prep22081
3Bergen Catholic31850
4Gloucester Catholic41174
8Seton Hall Prep711132
10Morris Knolls/HillsNR1863

1-Christian Brothers Academy (20-4-3)  Zachary Wagnon scored to snap a 1-1 tie in the third period, and John Donohoe finished with 20 saves as the Colts erased a 1-0 final period deficit and downed defending champion and second-ranked Don Bosco Prep, 4-1, in the NJSIAA Non-Public championship at the Prudential Center. The win gave the Lincroft school its first state championship since 2015. CBA, now 8-4 in state final appearances, also edged Don Bosco, 2-0, in the 62nd Gordon Cup championship on Feb. 22. Senior forward Kyle Contessa put up 41 points on 15 goals and 26 assists and was named the MVP of the Gordon Conference this season.

2-Don Bosco Prep (20-8-1)  The final contest did not end in favor of the Ironmen, but the Bergen County power still produced a 20-win season that included marching to the championships of the Bergen County Tournament, Gordon Cup, and the NJSIAA Non-Public Tournament. Not too shabby. Don Bosco fell just short in its quest to capture a second straight Non-Public title, falling to No. 1 Christian Brothers, 4-1, in the final at the Prudential Center. The Ironmen, who skated five freshmen for much of the season, drove to the final of the 62nd Gordon Cup but suffered a 2-0 setback to CBA.

3-Bergen Catholic (18-5-0)  The Crusaders posted their finest season since 2004 under second-year coach Thomas Keough; and captured their first Bergen County Tournament championship with a 3-2 victory over rival and No. 2 Don Bosco Prep. Bergen Catholic marched to the Gordon Cup semifinal round and also posted victories this winter over No. 1 CBA and No. 7 Delbarton. The Crusaders, who edged No. 4 Gloucester Catholic (4-3) in their lone meeting, were ousted from the state tournament by Seton Hall in the quarterfinal round, but went 3-1 against the Pirates this winter.

4-Gloucester Catholic (11–7-4)  The Rams fielded a mostly underclass club but watched them perform like seasoned veterans. The South Jersey squad earned its first-ever victory over Delbarton with a 6-3 decision in Gordon Cup quarterfinal, then followed that by eliminating the Green Wave two weeks later in the quarterfinal round of the NJSIAA Non-Public tournament. Gloucester Catholic, which was edged 4-3 in its lone meeting with No. 3 Bergen Catholic, fell to No. 2 Don Bosco in the Gordon Cup semifinal round before bowing, 2-0, to top-ranked CBA in the state semi. Gloucester Catholic also beat and tied top-ranked CBA during the regular season.

5-Morristown-Beard (20-5-1)  The Crimson put together one of the state’s hottest streaks this winter, going 16-2 from Dec. 9 through Feb. 6. Morristown-Beard stormed to a 5-1 victory over No. 6 Randolph on Feb. 22 in the Mennen Cup final, its 11th Cup title overall, and fifth in seven years. During the season the Crimson earned victories over Public B finalist and 10th-ranked Ridge; Public A champ & No. 9 Morris Knolls; third-ranked Bergen Catholic; Princeton Day; and St. John Vianney. The season ended with a 3-1 loss to top-ranked CBA in the NJSIAA Non-Public quarterfinal round.

6-Randolph (20-3-4)  Senior forward JT Zangara registered a hat trick with his overtime goal that sent the Rams to a 3-2 triumph over 10th-ranked Ridge in the NJSIAA Public B championship on March 9. The title was the ninth overall, and first in five years, for Randolph. Zangara closed his stellar four-year career with 159 points (63 goals, 96 assists) and posted 53 points (25, 28) this season. Senior goalie Gavin Einfeldt yielded just two goals during the state tournament and boasted a .936 save-percentage this winter. Randolph rolled to a 9-1 finish, yielding only 10 goals in the stretch run, and posted victories during the regular season over fifth-ranked Morristown-Beard and No. 8 Seton Hall Prep.

7-Delbarton (10-10-3)  It was a learning curve campaign for a Green Wave squad that saw 11 freshmen and sophomores shoulder large amounts of ice time this winter. It was the youngest roster ever fielded by veteran coach Bruce Shatel. Still, Delbarton received solid seasons and strong leadership from seniors Ben Conrad (13-10-23) and Brendan Clark and junior goalie Brett Cleaves (.919 save-percentage). Delbarton was edged, 4-3, in overtime by No. 4 Gloucester Catholic in the quarterfinal round of the NJSIAA Non-Public tournament, but did defeat the South Jersey school as well as eighth-ranked Seton Hall Prep twice during the regular season.

8-Seton Hall Prep (11-13-2)  Coach Mike Atkinson’s Pirates moved up into the elite National Division of the Gordon Conference and delivered an exemplary performance. After dropping a tough 5-3 decision against third-ranked Bergen Catholic in the Gordon Cup quarterfinal, Seton Hall avenged it two weeks later with a 3-2 upset in the NJSIAA Non-Public quarterfinal. It marked the first time since 2006 that the Pirates advanced into the state semis. Seton Hall then bowed to No. 2 Don Bosco, 5-3, in the semifinal. The Pirates also defeated ninth-ranked Summit, 3-2, on Dec. 29 in the Ice Vault Tournament and beat fourth-ranked Gloucester Catholic. Sophomore Patrick Zincone led the club with 10 goals.

9-Summit (22-3-2) NR The Hilltoppers showed how to close out a season in fine fashion, going 15-0 to conclude the 2020 campaign. The Union County power capped its impressive winter with a 5-2 victory over Ramsey in the NJSIAA Public C championship – the third straight title for the club and fourth in its five trips to the state final. Along the way Summit also won the championship of the Union County Tournament as well as the McInnis Cup. The Hilltoppers, who were ranked fourth in the preseason Top 10, skated to a scoreless tie with sixth-ranked Randolph and defeated No. 10 Morris Knolls (6-2) this season.

10-Morris Knolls/Hills (18-6-3) NR The Golden Eagles, ranked 10th in the preseason poll, skate into the final ranking on the strength of a strong second half -10-1 over its last 11 games – to go with a third straight state championship. Jason Kwestel scored in overtime to help Morris Knolls forge a 3-2 victory over Montclair to grab the NJSIAA Public A crown.The title was the fourth in four championship tries for the Golden Eagles, who outscored their opponents 20-4 in their four 2020 state tournament contests. During its regular season Knolls/Hills also defeated No. 5 Morristown-Beard and skated to a pair of ties against sixth-ranked and Public B champion Randolph.

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