Don Bosco Prep vs. St. Augustine
Photo by Catalina Fragoso

Don Bosco upset by St. Augustine in non-public hockey final

The boy's ice hockey Non-Public state final pitted the No. 1 team in the state, Don Bosco Prep, against last year's champions, No. 5 St. Augustine, at the Prudential Center. Don Bosco came into this game leading the season series 2-0, having defeated the Hermits 7-2 in their last meeting on Jan. 21. However, Monday's game would be anything but predictable, as 16 combined goals would be scored, which would go down as the most in New Jersey hockey finals history.

First Period

Although many goals would be scored in this game, it was a physical, hard-fought game at the beginning. St. Augustine scored the first goal 4:41 into the first period. Then, shortly after that, a Don Bosco defenseman took a shot that Niko Pappachristou deflected in. 7:51 in, Erik Wrynn sniped home a wrist shot to give Don Bosco a 2-1 lead. St. Augustine tied the game back up at two when Robert Romarino scored his first of the game with just over five minutes left in the period.

At the three-minute mark, Don Bosco created a goal with tic-tac-toe passing. The puck was passed to Wrynn, who deked to his backhand and slid the puck into the net for his second goal of the game, giving Don Bosco a 3-2 lead. With 2:30 left, Don Bosco took a penalty and got punished for it when a St. Augustine one-timer went bar-down and tied the game back up at three.

Although it seemed like the goal-scoring was over for the first period, St. Augustine added another to take the lead for the first time. The goal happened due to Don Bosco's defense being unable to clear the puck out of their zone, and St. Augustine's forward Ty Simonet picked up a loose puck near the net and stuffed it in to give the Hermits a 4-3 lead. That is where the score would stay for the remainder of the first period.

Second Period

Picking up right where he left off at the end of the first period, Simonet scored on a wrist shot from the point on the power play at 13:37 to give St. Augustine a 5-3 lead. The next goal came eight minutes later when Don Bosco made a bad pass on the power play that ended up going out of the offensive zone. St. Augustine's Cameron DeLeo picked it up, went in on a breakaway and scored high over senior goalie James Tarabocchia's blocker to give the Hermits a 6-3 lead.

After the shorthanded goal, Don Bosco still had a power play but could not score. With 4:50 left in the period, it looked like the game was falling into St. Augustine's hands, but then Don Bosco rattled off two straight goals to make it 6-5 at the end of the second period. Although St. Augustine had gained a three-goal lead over Don Bosco, the Ironmen fought back and shifted momentum heading into the third period.

Third Period

Even though Don Bosco had fought back in the second period after going down three goals, starting the third period strong would be critical if they were going to complete a comeback in this state final. That didn't happen because St. Augustine beat the Ironmen to the punch, scoring at the 11:08 mark of the third period to stretch their lead to 7-5.

With 11:08 remaining in regulation, Don Bosco was two goals behind and not out of it yet. However, they were unable to do much to help them get a goal in the next six minutes and that's where St. Augustine took advantage. At 4:46 of the period, the Hermits' Romarino skated in and sniped from the right face-off circle to give his team an 8-5 lead and himself a hat trick. That goal sealed it, although St. Augustine was called for a penalty with 4:18 remaining in the game, giving Don Bosco an opportunity to pull within two. Instead, the Hermits scored an empty netter, which made the score 9-5.

One minute later, Don Bosco was still on the power play when their forward, Frantisek Netusil, skated into St. Augustine's zone with the puck. Netusil skated behind the net and tried a wraparound, which was saved. The rebound was put home by Pappachristou for his second goal of the game, which cut his team's deficit to 9-6. Don Bosco pulled their goalie for the next two minutes to give themselves a 6-on-5-man advantage. However, St. Augustine's active defense wouldn't allow Don Bosco to move the puck around inside the offensive zone well enough to produce a scoring opportunity. Bosco took a few tepid shots outside the face-off dots, but more was needed to beat Hermits goalie Bobby Kennedy.

With one minute left in the third, St. Augustine won a face-off inside their defensive zone before Romarino picked up a loose puck and chipped it from his blueline into the Don Bosco net. The empty-net goal was Romarino's fourth of the game and made the score 10-6. That is where the score would stay for the rest of the game, as the Hermits jumped off the bench and over to their student fan section to celebrate when the final horn sounded.

For St. Augustine, Romarino, Simonet and DeLeo ended up with hat tricks. Don Bosco was led by Erik Wrynn who had a hat trick and Massimo Monteleone who had three assists.

Overall, it was a goaltending and defensive performance to forget for the No. 1 Don Bosco Prep as they allowed ten goals (two empty netters) on 26 shots, which cost them the game. While it was a game to forget for Don Bosco, it was a performance to remember for St. Augustine, who celebrated winning the non-public ice hockey state championship for the second year in a row.

Anthony Paradiso
Follow me

About The Author