Lakers next game is this Saturday, 2pm at the Skylands Ice Arena located in Hardyston, NJ. Lakers will enter this game with some new injuries and the return of Senior Captain Joseph Spagnola who has been out with injury since the beginning of the season. Geoffrey Smith, Senior Captain has been out all season as well, with a broken collar bone. He hopes to return by January. See everyone in their orange and blue on Saturday.
After handily dispatching their first two opponents in the NJ State High School hockey tournament, 11-1 vs Newark East Side and 8-3 vs West Morris Central, the Lakers take to the ice for a quarterfinal match against the Middletown South Eagles on Sunday March 6, 2011 at 4:15 pm at the Ice Vault in Wayne.
Coach Mark Lio’s Lakers have shown good balance thus far in the Tournament, led in scoring, as they have all season, by junior Jeff Celniker who has racked up 7 goals and 5 assists in the first two games. However, many other players are making significant contributions, both on the game scoresheet and on the team statistical charts. Goalie Gavin Spray, backed up by Conor Silverstein and cheered on by the injured Jared Bernstein, has grown throughout the season and looks ready to backstop the team towards its goal of a state championship. The defense in front of him has been a young, cohesive, improving group led by Assistant Captain Andrew Portnoy, newcomer Elliot Vorel, Tyler Devore, Alec Fernandez, Paul Kimmelman, and John Spagnola. Up front, a rotating cast of players has teamed with Celniker in providing the Lakers their best scoring team ever. Co-captains Billy Burgoyne and Nick D’Aloia have had outstanding seasons, providing speed, scoring and leadership. Other players, including Joe Spagnola, Geoffrey Smith, Ryan Gecawich, Corey Carnahan, and Matt D’Aloia have all notched outstanding two-way seasons with impressive scoring themselves, especially assist leader Spagnola’s knack of controlling the puck in the corners and feeding a pass to an open teammate.
Their opponents this Sunday, the Middletown South Eagles, ride a late season hot streak into the game. Midway through the season, the Eagles were mired in an up-and-down controversy laden mess, with a record barely above 0.500 and suffering through questions and scrutiny stemming from the mid-game dismissal or resigning of the talented Johnson brothers. During February, the Eagles put together a string of stronger performances that have carried them comfortably into the State Tournament.
The Eagles are led by several players who also play for the NJ Junior Titans team, including goalie Chris Marsillo, F Jason Zimmel (#14) and D/F Jimmy Burns (#11). They have some strong scorers in Zach England (#21), Tyler Ralph (#12), Chris Connor (#28), Chris Malamut (#68), and Cole Samuels (#4). The Eagles appear to be big, fast and physical, taking many penalties but relying on Marsillo to keep them in the games despite prolonged shorthanded situations.
Marsillo was the First Team goalie on the Shore Conference All Star team (A Division), with Ralph and Burns making the Second Team and Connor achieving Honorable Mention. Thus far in the the tournament, the Eagles have beaten Nutley 5-2 then upset higher seeded Princeton, also by a 5-2 score.
Conclusions? To win a state championship, you have to beat good teams with outstanding players. The Lakers will have to get the puck past Marsillo and jump to a lead, stay focused on defense, and most of all avoid being pulled into a classic Shore Conference physical brawl. As stated on NJPowerRanking.com, Marsillo will have to have an “out of body performance to limit the Lakers to under four.” We shall see.
In summary, the Lakers are playing well, scoring seemingly at will (7.46 goals a game), and are well suited to continue their State B Championship run beyond Sunday.
Days later the team and fans still feel the sting of the loss to Morristown. The team started out flat the first period and the Colonials had the drive of a determined underdog team. The 2nd period Lakers finally came alive with a goal by Nick D’Alioa assisted by Joe Spagnola bringing the score to 1-2, minutes later Lakers scored again by Jeff Celnicker with assists by Joe Spagnola and Alec Fernandez. The 3rd period brought more scoring by the Lakers, Jeff Celnicker and the Morristown Colonials. At the end of the 3rd game was tied with a score of 3-3 and the game moved into Overtime. With only minutes left in the period the refs called a questionable penalty on Elliott Vorel and the Colonials scored with only 2 minutes left in overtime. Spray did an awesome job with outstanding saves throughout the game and the Lakers Defense, of Pornoy, DeVore, Vorel, and John Spagnola played like soldiers protecting the goal against the Colonials. Lakers clearly lacked some team play throughout the game which may have cost them the win. Coach Lio now has a tough job on his hand. He must rally his teams spirits and get them ready for State play which begins tomorrow, Feb 28th.
This weeks is the start of some exciting hockey! Join the MLHS Ice Hockey team 6:15pm on Thursday night-Feb 24th at Mennen for the Championship game for the Halvorsen Cup versus the Morristown Colonials. Then follow the Orange and blue “ice” right into State Play, Mountain lakes, ranked #3 in the State Public “B” will be playing East Side in their first State game 6:00pm Monday, February 28 at Mennen Arena. If they win they continue to the next round 6:00pm March 2nd at Mennen. To follow State game scores and schedule go to http://www.njhockey.org/2011states.html . Wear your Blue and Orange and come support your Ice Hockey team as they skate on to victory!
Lakers move to Halverson finals after a clear win over Jefferson. Jeff Celnicker, Cory Carnahan, Billy Bourgoyne,Nick D’Aloia all contributed to the wins with goals each. Gavin Spray once again shut down the opponent with a stellar performance in net with the help of the aggresive defensive team of Portnoy, Spagnola, Vorel, and Devore.
Jeff Celniker scored 5 times bringing him to a record 50 goals for the season and the Lakers breezed past Vernon by the score. Celniker was brilliant once again with his outstanding stick handling and precision shooting. Conner Silverstein provided the stops in goal and had a fine game in net. Next up for Mountain Lakes is Halvorsen playoff game Saturday February 19th at 6:15pm
The Lakers defeated the Big North Division leader Mahwah 4-2. The Lakers penetrated the Mahwah trap oriented defense with timely goals from Captain Nick Deloia (1), Elliot Vorel (1), and Jeff Celnicker (2). The defense played with their backs to the wall on many occasions due to some untimely offensive penalties. John Spagnola, Tyler Devore and assistant captain Andrew Portnoy played courageously in the defensive struggle. Goalie Gavin Spray was brilliant in goal, allowing only the two power play goals. The Lakers, now 15-4-1, look to gain respect around the state after defeating Mahwah, the number 11th ranked team in the state
In what proved to be a difficult victory, the Lakers defeated Montville by the score of 5-2. Senior goalie Conner Silverstien was impressive in goal, making some difficult saves and keeping his team with in striking distance. Senior assistant captain Andrew Portnoy led the defense, as he has all year, denying Lakers’ opponents of quality scoring chances. Senior Captains Billy Burgoyne and Nick Deloia led the offensive charge with an inspirational second intermission locker room “chat”, which at the time was sorely needed as the Lakers were trailing 2-1. Jeff Celnicker and Joe Spagnola provided the offensive fire power as they each scored twice. The Lakers added an open net goal to seal the victory. The senior day victory now has the Lakers at 13-4-1 on the season.
After disappointing loses to two Mennen Division opponents, Chatham and Randolph, in games that saw plenty of shots from the Lakers but few quality scoring chances, Mountain Lakes regained their winning ways with a 10-0 shutout of Pequannock. The shutout was led by senior goalie Conner Silverstein who was perfect on the evening. Conner stymied Pequannock with his unyielding presence and stopped every attempt with purpose. Jeff Celnicker led the offensive charge with another hat trick. Captains Billy Burgoyne and Nick DAloia added goals, as well as Alec Fernandez, Ryan Gecawich, and also Matt DAloia who scored his first varsity goal. The game was shortened shortly after the start of the third period due to the 10 goal mercy rule. The Lakers improve to 11-4-1.
After taking a 2-0 lead with 53 seconds left to play in the first period, the Lakers let up two goals to Chatham on defensive breakdowns. With the score tied 3-3 in the second period, the Lakers committed some costly and questionable penalties and handed Chatham the victory 7-4. Jeff Celniker provided the offense with some shifty puck handling and notching yet another hat trick. Nick D’Aloia added a short handed goal. Coach Lio was disappointed in the boys’ lack of discipline and looks to get his squad back in focus this Saturday against a tough Randolph team,