There was an air of inevitability surrounding the Bergen County finals between Don Bosco and Ridgewood. The Ironmen came in to the contest sporting a 15-0 record thanks to a combination of a high-powered attack and stingy defense. Both elements showed up in an 8-4 victory that gave Don Bosco its first Bergen County title.
The two teams matched up in the Bergen County finals in 2008 and 2011 with both games going in favor of Ridgewood. It certainly weighed on the minds of the Don Bosco players, which knew they had a chance to reverse their championship fortunes.
“It’s a great feeling to have,” said Jack Ray, who tallied three times in the game for the Ironmen. “They have a great coach and great players, but we played real well today.”
Don Bosco dominated the game from the outset, winning the opening faceoff and having possession of the ball exclusively for the first seven minutes of the game. By the time Ridgewood was able to sustain any measure of attack, Alex Henthorn and Jack Ray had already put the Ironmen ahead, 2-0. Brady Wulster added a goal in the dying seconds of the first quarter and Don Bosco looked to be unstoppable.
Throughout the game, the Ironmen peppered Ridgewood goaltender Noah Pounds, who was outstanding. Don Bosco fired off 18 shots in the first quarter alone and Pounds performed admirably in the face of a constant barrage.
Max Luing got the Maroons on the board early in the second, but Conor Scavone answered after a great dodge to avoid a double team to restore his squad’s three-goal lead.
The Maroons found some energy midway through the third quarter. A great goal in transition by Luing cut the deficit to 5-2, and Peter Reuter drove down the middle and slipped a shot under the crossbar at the 2:57 mark to bring Ridgewood within two.
“It was a tight game for a while,” said Henthorn of Ridgewood’s third-quarter comeback. “It was a lot closer than the last time we played, but we were able to put it away in the end.”
However, the Ironmen would reassert themselves in the fourth quarter. They continued taking long possessions, cycling the ball around for minutes at a time and keeping the Maroons from mounting offensive pressure. It was just a matter of time before Don Bosco closed the game out.
Four minutes into the final frame, Henthorn took a back-door feed from Max Allen to re-open the three goal margin. Soon after, at the 6:45 mark, Ray finished off his hat trick to put Don Bosco ahead, 7-3.
“My teammates were putting me into a good position to score,” said Ray of his performance. “I just did the easy part and finished.”
The win erased some of Don Bosco’s past frustrations in the Bergen County tournament and sent its seniors off with a trophy they have been trying to capture for a long time. It also gave the Ironmen the season sweep of Ridgewood after defeating the Maroons, 13-9, on April 14th.
“We were really unselfish out there today and got some great shots,” said Ray. “We have to continue to play the way we did today and keep working hard toward our next goal, which is a state championship.”
That goal could be a reality for the Ironmen if they continue to play the way they did today. They will face stiff competition in the Non-Public playoffs, but they appearing to peaking at the right time. That is the key to any championship run.
Don Bosco's road to the title
W: 15-0 over No. 16 Old Tappan
W: 12-6 over No. 8 Ramapo
W: 12-4 over No. 5 Bergen Catholic
W: 8-4 over No. 2 Ridgewood
Ridgewood 0 1 2 1 4
Don Bosco 3 1 1 3 8
SHOTS ON GOAL
Don Bosco 19
Don Bosco 12
Don Bosco 29
Don Bosco 1/3