The Few, the Proud... the Point Pleasant Boro Boys Ice Hockey Team By Eugene Stewart

 The Few, the Proud... the Point Pleasant Boro Boys Ice Hockey Team

By Eugene Stewart

 

POINT PLEASANT – Second-year coach Steve Plancey and the Point Boro Panthers ice hockey team just completed an undefeated, 8-0 in A South, outright division champions and a 16-4-1 overall record for the 2018-19 campaign.

 

 “We’re very happy,” stated Plancey. 

 

As one of, if not the smallest team in NJ, the Point Boro boys ice hockey team consists of just 11 skaters.  What they lack in sheer numbers, they make up for in grit, determination and great team play.

 

For the season, Boro won a pair against Southern Regional and Jackson Memorial before a 3-1 loss to Middletown South.  The Panthers then ran off another three consecutive wins against Toms River North, Brick Memorial and Rumson-Fair Haven.  A tie with Bridgewater-Raritan was followed by four wins against Basking Ridge, Hunterdon Central, South Brunswick, and Howell/Matawan. 

 

Middletown North dealt Boro a 2-4 loss on Jan. 8, before wins versus Brick and Central Regional, followed by the last loss of the regular season to Manasquan/Point Pleasant Beach, 2-4.  Wins against Toms River East/South, Lacey and Jackson Liberty set a positive tone for the postseason with Point Boro qualifying for both the SCT and the state playoffs.  The SCT selection committee placed the Panthers as the fourth seed in the tournament which included 22 teams. 

 

In the finals of the Handchen Cup against second-seeded Saint John Vianney, the Panthers put up a valiant effort before falling to the Lancers, 4-1, at Jersey Shore Arena. Point Boro advanced to the finals after besting both Jackson Liberty and Jackson Memorial.  Additionally, the NJSIAA Public B Tournament placed the Panthers with the No. 5 seed and will play No. 12 seed West Essex/Caldwell.

 

The Panthers are led by seven seniors, all of whom have secured academic scholarships. Outside of club hockey in college, the days of participating in the sport of ice hockey in an interscholastic capacity are over as they move into the next level of their young lives.

 

 “This is what makes what we’ve done this year even more special,” stated Plancey.  A group of high school students working to finish with 16 wins, three loses and one tie, in such a competitive division, conference and group is unlikely.

 

Senior goalie John Meyer is one of the state’s leaders in goal with one of the highest save percentages.  “He is the backbone of this team,” Plancey proudly exclaimed.

 

Assistant captain senior Eddie Coyne has amassed 46 points over his four-year career with 10 goals and 36 assists.  He and fellow senior Tyler Griffin are a pair of solid defensemen for the Panthers. 

 

On offense, Boro is led by the trio of seniors – Evan McCabe, Aidian Zielaznicki and Will Herrington.  Zielaznicki led the team with 38 points, 27 goals and 11 assists.  His career numbers have shown continual improvement each year, while amassing 35 goals and 22 assists with 57 points.  In addition, Meyer and Coyne have been recognized as two of NJ.com’s top seniors this season.

 

Similar to the RIHA in the Freehold school district, the Point Pleasant Boro Athletic Boosters (PPBAB) assist with financially supporting the ice hockey program to present a quality product.  While not exclusively responsible for only ice hockey, the PPBAB is integral to sustaining the ice hockey program.  For more information on supporting Point Pleasant Boro athletics, including ice hockey, contact athleticboosters@pointpleasant.k12.nj.us.  

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