Private – CBA 2, Don Bosco 1 (OT)
The final game of the night stole all the drama, as second-seeded Don Bosco Prep (20-6-2) and third-seeded CBA (25-4) met for the fourth time this season and battled deep into overtime. After Don Bosco Prep had beaten the Colts twice and finished higher in the Gordon Conference’s American Division standings, CBA came in with momentum as Gordon Cup champions and left with it, too, after a fluke goal with just 90 seconds remaining before a shootout.
Senior defenseman Ryan Bogan skated into the offensive zone on the left boards, caught up to the puck behind the goal line in the corner, and whipped it toward the net, where it caromed off the skate of Don Bosco Prep goalie Alexei Masanko, outstanding all night (25 saves) and all season, and snuck in at the near post for the game-deciding goal.
For Masanko, the goal was eerily similar to the opening goal, when after Don Bosco Prep had the better chances in the first period, CBA snuck a goal just 47 seconds into the second period. On that play, John D’Angelo picked up a turnover behind the net, then jammed the puck home at the near post to put the Colts in front.
CBA grew in confidence from there, and Masanko had to be sharp to keep it 1-0 late into the third period. His team did finally beat Michael Cernero (25 saves) to tie the game, however, with senior Chris Mazzella scrambling home a rebound with 4:12 remaining.
The teams then traded chances and saves deep into overtime before Bogan’s effort set up yet another championship game between CBA and Delbarton, the sixth such final in the 22-year history of the private state tournament. The teams met in the first private final back in 1995, CBA holds the narrowest of edges (5-4 thanks to a 2001 shootout) in the state-tournament series since the two-tournament era began.
Last year’s final saw CBA rally from a 3-0 deficit to stun Delbarton in overtime, turning the tables on the teams’ 2012 title game, in which Delbarton rallied from a 2-0 deficit in the third period to win 3-2. The teams also met in the 2009 final (a 7-0 Delbarton victory) and the memorable 2005 version, when a James van Riemsdyk goal gave CBA a 2-1 overtime win.
Having shared the 2014 title after a tie with Morristown-Beard and won it outright last year, CBA is trying to win a share of a third straight title, echoing the great teams of 1994-96 that won three consecutive outright titles, at the time an unprecedented achievement.
The only school to exceed three consecutive titles in the private ranks? Delbarton, of course. Monday’s rematch should be one for the ages.
It was not as easy as the final score indicates, but Delbarton (24-3-2) returned to the private state championship game for the 10th time in 12 years on Wednesday, pulling away from St. Augustine Prep (13-11-1) for a 5-0 semifinal win.
Ranked No. 1 in the state virtually the entire season, Delbarton seemed vulnerable after losing to Don Bosco Prep in January and CBA in the Gordon Cup final. Their shot advantage Wednesday was only 27-24, but a first-period power-play goal from Jack Malone, parked in the slot, allowed them to play with the lead and additional confidence.
Senior Tyler Kobryn added two goals, including the back-breaker midway through the third period, and younger brother Troy Kobryn made 24 saves in the win. Andrew Longo and Jack Maguire also scored, with Nick Siffringer, Mark Benemerito, and Jack Chatwin all picking up two assists.
Public B – Glen Rock 5, Mahwah 1
It did not wind up being anywhere near as dramatic, but Glen Rock (23-2-3) sure found its third trip to the NJSIAA Public B semifinals a lot more memorable than its first two. The Panthers booked their first trip to a state championship game with a 5-1 win over county foe Mahwah (16-9-3) in Wednesday’s opener.
Second-seeded Glen Rock had lost previous semifinals in a shootout (to Tenafly in 2012, as a Cinderella No. 15 seed) and by one goal (last year, against this year’s championship-game opponent Ramsey). So striking for two goals in the first 6:29 gave this year’s game a very different feel.
Favored against sixth-seeded Mahwah, Glen Rock rolled behind two goals from Tom LaMacchia and a goal and three assists from Jake Kinney, while Matt Rosario only needed 14 saves for the win. Shane Ciongoli did score for Mahwah to make it a 2-1 game after one period, but LaMacchia scored early in the second period on the power play and then twisted the dagger by scoring with seven seconds left before the second intermission to make it a 4-1 game.
County foes in different divisions, Glen Rock and Ramsey did not meet in the regular season this year, but Ramsey has won the last three contests, two Bergen County Tournament semifinals (last year’s in overtime) and that Public B semifinal last year. Monday will finally see them square off in a championship game.
State Finals schedule
March 7, 2016 – Prudential Center, Newark NJ
4:30 pm Private – (1) Delbarton vs. (3) CBA
6:30 pm Public B – (2) Glen Rock vs. (4) Ramsey
8:30 pm Public A – (1) Morristown vs. (2) Randolph