By Brian Deakyne
MORRISTOWN — Behind an intensifying effort, Christian Brothers Academy had no problem advancing to its first state title game since 2009.
CBA held off St. Peters Prep in the third period to avenge a tie from earlier in the season, winning 4-1, to advance to the NJSIAA non-public state championship game Friday night.
The win is the third-seeded Colts second in as many days after topping Gloucester Catholic in the quarterfinals on Monday afternoon.
“It’s absolutely unbelievable,” Dan Malafronte said. “With this team and with these guys, I wouldn’t want it any other way.”
CBA got goals from four different players in the semi-finals’ trouncing of St. Peters Prep at Mennen Arena.
“We learned a lot about our kids character today,” CBA head coach Ryan Bogan said. “You go into games like this and it’s not all about skill. Heart and desire is the drive.”
Malafronte put the Colts on the board late in the first period, driving the net to finish a rebound off senior James Martello’s initial shot.
“James [Martello] saw me coming down the middle and just put a good low shot on net. We practice it a lot, just driving the net, and we got a good rebound,” Malafronte said.
Junior Matt Langlois extended CBA’s lead late in the second period, scoring on a breakaway off the left wing to put the Colts up 3-1.
The goal came 34 seconds after St. Peters Prep pulled within a goal.
“It was huge. The fact that they get a power play goal and [Matt] Langlois answers almost instantly is huge. They had momentum. [Matt] Langlois isn’t a goal-scorer, but man is he probably one of our hardest-working kids.”
CBA held a four-goal lead in its last game against St. Peters Prep on Dec. 23, but the Marauders rallied to eventually end the game in a 5-5 tie.
“We knew the last time we played them, it wasn’t our best,” Bogan said. “But at the same time we were familiar with their play and their players.”
Sophomore R.J. Steer added a goal in the early stages of the second period, intercepting a pass in the neutral zone, and blasting a shot into the net. The goal put the Colts up 2-0 with 10:46 left.
Junior goalie Chris D’Alessio stopped 15 of the 16 shots he faced, including several big saves in the third period to keep CBA on top.
Junior Glenn Florczak put home an empty net goal with 1:28 left to seal the victory.
“You look down the bench, and you can’t pick one guy who was on the ice that didn’t contribute,” Bogan said.
“Our coaches and everyone have had us coming together at the right time,” Malafronte said. “Hopefully we peak right at the state championship.”
The Colts will take on top-seeded Delbarton in the NJSIAA non-public state finals on Friday at the Prudential Center. CBA is 0-2 against the Green Wave this year, falling 8-0 on Dec. 3 and 6-0 on Jan. 18.
CBA Cruises Past Gloucester Catholic In Quarterfinals
WALL — The last time Christian Brothers Academy faced Gloucester Catholic, they needed seven third period goals to slide past the Rams in the Gordon Cup quarterfinals.
The Colts made certain that they wouldn’t need that Monday afternoon in the non-public state playoffs quarterfinals.
Third-seeded CBA scored six goals over the first two periods and junior goalie Chris D’Alessio stopped 15 of the 17 shots he faced as they topped the Rams, 7-2, at Jersey Shore Arena.
“We came out in the first period and [James] Martello scored early, which was good it gave us a chance to get our feet moving,” CBA head coach Ryan Bogan said. “We took a little nap there after we scored but I think we bounced back well.”
The win was the fourth of the season over sixth-seeded Gloucester Catholic. The Colts beat the Rams twice in the regular season, 4-3 and 3-1, and added a 10-5 win in the Gordon Cup.
Martello scored the Colts’ first goal of the game 24 seconds into the match, taking a loose puck in the slot and ripping it into the net.
“It just popped out in the slot, and I kind of just turned around and saw an opening under his blocker and put it in the net,” Martello said.
Matthew Langlois put CBA back on top later in the third period — after Gloucester Catholic tied the game — by taking a puck and burying a shot just inside the blue line. Joe Masonius finished a two-on-one rush, taking a pass from Henry Manley to put CBA up 3-1 with just over a minute left in the first period.
CBA added three more goals in the second period, taking a controlling 6-1 lead into the intermission.
“Teams rely on their seniors, so you start your seniors and get the ball rolling,” Bogan said. “I give it all to our teams leadership. Danny [Malafronte] and James [Martello] started it and the kids feed off that. You can’t not credit the underclassmen, but I give it to the captains.”
Malafronte took a pass from Martello in the opening minute of the second period and finished it off to add to CBA’s lead, and Brendan Van Riemsdyk added a rebound goal less than a minute later to push the lead to 5-1.
R.J. Steer poked in a power play goal late in the third period, finishing off a net-mouth scramble.
Malafronte scored his second goal of the game to open the third period, as he and Martello completed a two-on-one advantage 55 seconds into the period.
“We have a lot of young kids, a lot of freshman and they kind of doze off after the second period. We have to keep them focused and make sure we don’t let up four goal leads. It’s really important,” Martello said.
The Colts out-shot Gloucester Catholic, 32-17.