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Saint Joseph offense starting to click on ice

St. Joseph Metuchen ice hockey player Matthew Samarelli takes a shot towards the net during the team's game against Notre Dame on Dec. 23. The Falcons defeated the Irish 7-2.

Goals have been scored at a rapid pace for the Saint Joseph Regional High School ice hockey team in its last two games.

The Falcons roared to a 5-1 victory over Paul VI High School of Haddonfield on Dec. 18 and then took their offense up another notch on Dec. 23 against Notre Dame High School in its Egan Cup series contest at The Lawrenceville School’s Loucks Ice Center.

The Metuchen school scored a season-high seven goals to defeat Notre Dame, 7-2, to improve to 5-2 on the season.

“We capitalized a lot on our power play opportunities,” said   coach Ryan Carter of Saint Joseph. “The guys shared and moved the puck well. We’re peaking at the right time here early on in the season and getting our special teams to go the way we want.”

Junior Chris Ciccarello has been on a roll in the last two games for the Falcons.

Ciccarello scored a game-high two goals in the victory against Notre Dame, his first coming midway through the first period to give the Falcons a 2-1 lead. Teammate Thomas Freda scored 30 seconds later to help increase the Saint Joseph lead to 3-1.

The junior slashed in his second goal in the final seconds of the contest.

Receiving a nice pass from behind the net by teammate Ivan Borisov, Ciccarello ripped a perfect slap shot into the back of the net with 0.2 second left to finish off the Metuchen school’s  second straight victory.

Ciccarello has registered three goals and an assist in the last two games for Saint Joseph.

“It felt really great to capitalize on my opportunities,” Ciccarello said. “I couldn’t have done it without my teammates. It felt great to get a nice team win.”

Borisov knocked home his team-high sixth goal of the season to put the Falcons up 5-1 against school from Lawrenceville in the third period.

The sophomore has also tallied three assists in his stellar start to the season. 

Freshman Christian Cuccia scored his second goal in three games off a nifty backhand shot that made it a 4-1 contest in the second period for Saint Joseph.

“It was probably one of the coolest goals I’ve ever scored,” Cuccia said on his backhanded goal against Notre Dame.

Senior Mark Borek scored his third goal of the season to get the Falcons on the board first to start the contest. Junior Matthew Pliszak made it six Saint Joseph players with at least one goal scored in the win over the Irish by connecting on his second goal of the season in the third period to make it 6-1. 

Like Ciccarello, Borek has also scored three goals in the last two games for Saint Joseph.

The Falcons have recorded 21 goals in their last five games and are 4-1 in that stretch.

This is just the beginning in the eyes of Carter, who believes his squad is still building to what they can become this season.

“We can go as far as we want to go if we can continue to play our system,” Carter said. “If we can get 10 guys to score 10 goals for us this, that’ll be great for us. That’s what we’re hoping for. The guys are moving the puck well and it’s good.”


Follow Steven Bassin on Twitter @SBassin_Sports


St. Joseph Metuchen ice hockey player Rob Beattie clears the puck up the boards during the team's game against Notre Dame on Dec. 23. St. Joseph Metuchen is 5-2 to start the season.
St. Joseph Metuchen ice hockey player Andrew Chan skates up the boards with the puck during the team's game against Notre Dame on Dec. 23. The Falcons defeated the Irish by a score of 7-2.
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