Don Bosco was called for 12 penalties, but overcame archrival Bergen Catholic on the strength of solid goaltending from Jarred Liscio and two goals from Matthew McMorrow in its 6-1 triumph on Friday evening.
“I thought we played our worst game of the year, I thought we played awful,” head coach Greg Toskos said of his team’s sloppy performance. “We got lucky because our goalie played great. He was unbelievable today.”
Liscio is only a sophomore, but played 17 games for the Ironmen a season ago and he looked like a seasoned pro in front of a hostile crowd that packed into the Ice Vault in Wayne.
“We expect that now from him,” McMorrow said of Liscio’s strong performance. “He’s got a year under his belt and he really gives us a lot of confidence back there.”
Bergen carried the play early but Liscio would weather the storm just long enough to give Brendan Calello the opportunity to open the scoring on a fantastic individual effort with Bosco down a man.
The Ironmen would take a total of 12 penalties but Bergen would take nine of its own, including four in the first period that kept the Crusaders from jumping on Bosco when perhaps it was most vulnerable.
What the Ironmen lacked in discipline it made up for with sheer will to win. With the game still in doubt at 2-0 late in the second, Cole Maier made a fantastic play off of a faceoff to win a 50/50 puck and found line mate Justin McKenzie open for a backbreaking goal.
“We noticed that their centers were going forward on all the draws, so we just tied up,” Maier said of the play after the game. “I found the puck and had enough time to see my teammate in the middle and Justin buried it.”
Just 40 seconds later McMorrow would spring free and ripped a shot past Bergen Catholic goaltender David Gerity for his second of the game and just that quickly it was 4-0 Ironmen entering the final frame.
The Crusaders came out flying in the final period determined to if nothing else send a message for the next time these two teams meet, but Liscio was solid as a rock and it took Bergen till the 10:25 mark of the third to register its first goal.
After playing a tremendous two-way game the hockey gods rewarded Cole Maier’s efforts with a marker as the junior capped off a very strong game with the contest’s final goal to make it 6-1.
“Maier was fantastic today,” Toskos said postgame. “He always is. He’s strong on the puck and he does everything he has to do to help this team win.”
In a tightly called game against one of the better private schools in the state, Bosco found itself in the box way more than it would have liked but managed to take a convincing win thanks to a relentless forecheck and solid goaltending.
These two facets have become staples of this team and it has an 8-0 start and first place in the Gordon Conference to show for it, but Toskos knows his team must play a cleaner game to get to where it wants to go.
“Against the best teams in this league you can’t take bad penalties. We got lucky tonight.”
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