Feb 19, 2019 | Ice Hockey, Saint John Vianney
LANCERS CAPTURE HANDCHEN CUP AND LOOKING FOR MORE
By Alan Brehme, Toms River North, JSN Intern
HOLMDEL – What a season for the Saint John Vianney boys ice hockey team. The Lancers are in the midst of another great season and looking to make a little history as the season wraps up. They finished the season first in their division with a perfect 7-0 record, and an overall record of 18-1-2.
To start the season they faced off against Red Bank Catholic. SJV clearly proved they were the more talented team in this matchup, beating RBC, 8-0, behind the scoring of John Gutt with a hat trick, Nick Colao with two and Colin Meany, AJ Micalizzi and Dom Troisi each with one apiece. One of SJV’s two ties came in week 2 against non-conference opponent Vernon with a 3-3 draw and scoring from Meany with two and Micalizzi with one. The second tie of their season came in week 5 against St. Joseph-Montvale with the score ending 1-1 and Meany with the lone Lancers goal.
Saint John Vianney’s only loss of the season came in week 15 against perennial power Christian Brothers Academy, 3-1. In this contest, the Lancers would jump on the board first with a goal from Meany in the first period. The Colts would tie it on a power play goal to close out the first period. The two teams skated to a scoreless second period before Christian Brothers Academy put the game away in the third with two goals a minute apart.
The Lancers quickly rebounded from the loss, winning the next three games including two tournament games and a run to the championship game of the Handchen Cup against Point Pleasant Boro, which they won, 4-1, in a brutal and heated matchup between two of the top teams in the Shore Conference. This win over Point Boro completed Saint John Vianney’s goal of repeating as Handchen Cup champions.
Throughout the game there was a lot of hitting and great plays made by both goalies keeping the score at zero early in the first period. With 3:46 in the first session Troisi got the Lancers on the board first after he buried a rebound shot from Gutt, who took on the Panthers goalie who made a sprawling save, before Troisi buried the puck in the back of the net for a 1-0 Lancers lead. With 6:28 left in the second session, SJV scored again, making it harder for Boro to come back with the score at 2-0 on a beautiful shot from Gutt for his first of the game.
Saint John Vianney thought they had this game in the bag, but Point Pleasant Boro would strike quickly which added momentum to their side. With 5:31 left in the second session, Matt Buccino’s goal off a faceoff brought Boro to within one with the score now 2-1. Entering the final two minutes of the second session, SJV’s Gutt scored again.
Point Boro was in a deep hole but still had life coming out of the intermission battling the Lancers up and down the ice, but could not crack the Lancers defense or goaltender. One thing that people love about hockey are the hard hits and the anger between both sides and that's exactly what Will Herrington and Rich Kulaszewski of Saint John Vianney provided the packed house at Jersey Sports Arena. Both players got a little scrappy with one another but it was quickly broken up by teammates and officials.
With just over two minutes left in the game, Boro pulled their goalie for an extra to jump back into the contest, but with 50 seconds remaining, Gutt put the game away for good as he scored his hat trick and the celebration began with the final score of 4-1. Goalie Jeremy Connor secured his 16th win of the season with 15 saves.
On the heels of their incredible 2018-19 Shore Conference run, the Lancers received a tough draw in the upcoming NJSIAA Non-Public School tournament. They will receive a first-round bye before the ninth-seeded Lancers travel to eighth-seeded Seton Hall Prep in the second round, with the game to be played before Feb. 22, and the winner taking on top-seeded Don Bosco Prep.