Times of Trenton boys/girls ice hockey notes: Robbinsville-Allentown faces a big week
It’s been an interesting and exciting week for the Robbinsville-Allentown High ice hockey team.
On Monday, RA lost a rematch with Paul VI, a team they had beaten by a goal on January 5. On Wednesday, she meets Princeton, who beat RA by one goal on Jan. 3. And on Friday, Dan Bergan’s side travel to Clary Anderson Arena to take on host Montclair – a side that are just 2-11-1 but have beaten Robbinsville-Allentown in their three meetings from 2016 to 2020.
“Paul the VI is a very tough opponent and we were lucky to escape with a win last time out,” Bergan said ahead of RA’s 6-2 loss. “Princeton look to be the best in the Colonial Valley Conference so far so we have nothing to lose and can let it all fly on Wednesday. It’s only been three weeks (they’ve played) and Covid absences may play a role in any of these games depending on who is available and who is not.
And then there’s Montclair, who Bergan says has a truly misleading record.
“I went to have a look at Montclair and was shocked at what I saw after looking at their record,” the veteran coach said. “We would actually be an underdog from what I saw. All season they have played with 12 players or less and against West Essex (last Thursday) they had a full squad of 18 skaters.
“Their inexperienced goalkeeper and small bench have a lot to do with their record, but they are now at full strength and their tender soph (Sam Korenbaum) has grown in haste. They were 2-1 late in the game against highly ranked Westfield (No. 11 in the nj.com Top 20) and faced a highly rated West Essex side against a goalscorer yesterday.
Bergan added with a laugh: “They’ll be very tough the rest of the way and that’s not a coach talking. I have the tape to prove it.
Robbinsville-Allentown will host the Tests as it seeks to harden up for the Mercer County tournament, which begins in less than three weeks. RA has been solid this year at 11-5, with two of its losses coming against Shore Conference teams Freehold Borough and Jackson Liberty.
Along with that, the players have been a pleasure to coach.
“They play for each other as well as any band I’ve had so far,” Bergan said. “They believe in what we do and do their best to please the coaching staff.”
As for where he is looking to improve, the coach said: “We need to focus as much energy defensively as attacking, which is not unusual for young players. They began to take pride in the less glorified aspects of team play.
Leading the attack are senior Charlie Pallitto and junior JP Sferra. Pallitto has 20 goals and 16 assists while Sferra is the team leader in goals (22), assists (19) and points (41).
“Both players bring great speed and finishing skills,” Bergan said. “That’s what separates most top level players. They are selfless and bring the highest levels of “competition” you will find anywhere.
Bergan believes neither winger would be as effective without the creative playing ability of senior center Jack Battistelli, who has 17 assists.
“Jack isn’t getting close to the recognition he should be,” Bergan said. “He plays everywhere for us and can be counted on to do his job in every role we throw at him. He is one of the main playmakers in the CVC this year.
Defensively, Robbinsville-Allentown has a young unit of sophomores Luke Gensinger, Jack Morgan and Colin Rubin and junior Ray Corneau.
“They still have so much ceiling to develop,” Bergan said, “and they’re anchoring the blue line already.”
Sitting behind them in goal is sophomore Zander Wiley, who has an 89.6 save percentage stopping 285 of 316 shots.
“Zander has all the tools,” Bergan said. “He’s played extremely well for us. He hasn’t had a lot of formal technical training, so one by one we’re building good habits. He has exceptional movement and skating ability and we’re building on that. You can’t force the experience, but it will get better and better with time, it’s already one of the best in HVAC, so the future is bright.
The coach also believes his team has a group of underrated grinders such as Marcu Gallicchio, Dalton Tilghman and Patrick Crome and versatile performers Jaiden Gingras and Charlie Luizza.
“They don’t almost get the press like some of the others,” Bergan said. “But they are essential to our success.”
PDS GIRLS GET BETTER: The Princeton Day School girls have had their ups and downs this year, but coach John Ritchie likes the direction his team is heading.
The Panthers are 4-4, with their in-state losses to Morristown-Beard, Summit and Oak Knoll, the No. 1, 2 and 4 ranked teams in the nj.com Top 5. PDS was ranked No. 5 when they fell to MB on Saturday.
“We started off a little slow because of the talent I think the roster has,” Ritchie said. “I thought we should have played better in December, but recently we have raised our level of competition and our lines have gelled. I thought we played a few games well enough to win but I struggled to score and against some of the tougher teams in our schedule lately I’ve been pleased with the team’s effort.
Looking at the highlight of Princeton Day, Ritchie likes the fact that he did a good job playing with the structure offensively.
“It led to good scoring chances,” he said. “But scoring is an area we need to improve against tougher competition.”
The Panthers, who play at Trinity Hall on Tuesday, don’t have a single big scorer, as six players have between three and six goals and seven between five and 10 points.
“(Sophomore) Logan Harrison, (Junior) Lauren Chase, (Sophomore) Emily McCann and (Freshman) Eibhleann Knox are the core that has gotten us this far,” Ritchie said. “Logan, Emily and Eibhleann are ninth and tenth graders but can control the pace and puck possession under the points. They will be fun to watch grow over the next few years. Lauren is an offensive defender capable of playing in all situations. »
This is Princeton Day School’s first year participating in the NJSIAA tournament, and Ritchie said “it’s something we’re really looking forward to being a part of.”
PRINCETON GIRLS WIN FIRST: It’s been a tough year for the women’s team at Princeton High, but they were able to celebrate in style last Monday with a 12-0 win over Westfield. Cece Gibb had four goals and an assist, while Cassie Speir and Grace Rebak each had two goals and an assist.
Gibb leads the team in goals (nine) and points (10), while Defne Arsoy lead in assists with two.
PREPARATION SCENE: Princeton Day School (5-4-2), ranked No. 6 in the nj.com The Top 20 had a tough week against tough competition, losing 4-1 to Lawrenceville and 4-2 to No. 5-ranked Seton Hall Prep.
The Big Red (4-3-2) had their game at Wyoming Seminary canceled before claiming a 6-4 victory over Albany Academy for Boys on Saturday. Justin Solovey and Eric Vivinetto each had a hat trick in the win while AJ Maner had two assists.
It should be an entertaining showdown on Thursday when Lawrenceville visits No. 2-ranked Delbarton.
There may not be a more frustrated team in the state than Hun. The Raiders were hoping to finally get back into action on Friday before their home game with Rumson-Fair Haven was called off. Hun will attempt to play again for the first time since December 15, when he will hopefully host the Hill School at Ice Land on Wednesday.
Wait, there might be a more frustrated team than Hun. Pennington is in the same situation as he plans to attend the Germantown Academy on Wednesday after not playing since December 16. Pennington saw its third straight game canceled last Friday.
SLAP SHOTS: Princeton (11-1-2) had the bye week but is returning to a tough schedule against Hopewell-Montgomery on Tuesday, Robbinsville-Allentown on Wednesday and a game in Wayne against Wayne Hills (10-5-3) on Sunday. . .Notre Dame also had a week off and is back in action against West Windsor-Plainsboro on Tuesday and at St. Joe’s Metuchen on Wednesday. The Falcons are 9-5-1. . . . HM had a tough week with defeats to RA and Paul VI by three goals combined.
ROSS REPORT: Ross Colton, the first player from Mercer County to reach the NHL, had a great weekend with the Tampa Bay Lightning. On Friday, the sophomore center scored Tampa’s lone goal in a 5-1 loss to Anaheim. A night later, he had his first two-goal game in the NHL, helping the Bolts to a 7-1 win over San Jose.
The PDS grad and Robbinsville resident has four goals and one assist in his last five games. For the season, he has eight goals and 11 assists for 19 points.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Lawrenceville had a great week with a 4-0 win over PDS and a 6-4 victory over Albany Academy, and Eric Vivinetto was in the middle of it all with four goals and an assist. Vivinetto scored a goal against the Panthers and had a hat trick with an assist against Albany.
The season, the Wyckoff junior striker has eight goals and five assists.
GAMES TO WATCH:
January 25: Hopewell/Montgomery vs. Princeton, Mercer Skating Center
January 26: Robbinsville/Allentown vs. Princeton, Mercer Skating Center
January 27: Lawrenceville to Delbarton
January 30: Princeton at Wayne Hills at Ice Vault, Wayne
Princeton Day School
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