Highly regarded Colts must put the puck in the net

first_imgBY GEORGE ALBANO Staff Writer BY GEORGE ALBANOStaff Writer Excuse the pun, but lately the Christian Brothers Academy hockey team has been fit to be tied. The Colts have been involved in six tied games already this season, including two in the last week in games they could have, and probably should have, won. On Saturday night, CBA and undefeated Ridge, ranked No. 1 in the state among public school teams, battled to a 1-1 standoff in a game where the Colts held a decisive 45-14 advantage in shots. In the game before that, on Wednesday night, CBA outplayed Bergen Catholic, but allowed a late goal and had to settle for another 1-1 tie. All of which left the Colts with an 8-3-6 mark entering this week. “A lack of scoring has hurt us,” said veteran head coach Mike Reynolds. “Against Ridge we had 20 shots in the first period, but came away with nothing. Then they got a breakaway to go up 1-0 and we had to scramble to tie them. We didn’t score until there was 3:24 left in the game to tie it. “When you get 45 shots, somebody has to score.” Against Bergen Catholic somebody did, but the Colts eventually let the one-goal lead, and an apparent victory, slip away. “We were leading, but let a goal in with two minutes to go,” Reynolds, in his 15th season at CBA and 30th overall coaching hockey, said. “Again we should have had four or five goals early in the game and it came back to haunt us in the final period. “The same thing happened against St. Peter’s a week or two ago,” he added. “St. Peter’s came back to tie us 2-2 with 20 seconds to go.” That game was a showdown between two of the top teams in New Jersey. CBA was ranked No. 2 in last week’s state poll, while St. Peter’s was No. 3. Delbarton was ranked No. 1. “Two of our three losses came against Delbarton,” Reynolds pointed out. It’s those six ties, however, that bother the CBA coach. Heck, it’s not that much of a stretch to say the Colts could very well be 14-3 right now if those ties were victories. “I don’t even say that anymore,” Reynolds laughed. “Last year we had eight ties, which was the most in the state and set a new school record. But there have been a lot of ties this year. Delbarton was tied the other day by Don Bosco, who we play [today].” That will also be the Colts’ final Gordon Cup League game before heading into the league tournament in a few weeks. “If we win, we’ll be the No. 3 seed,” Reynolds noted. CBA also has several nonleague games remaining before the Feb. 13 state tournament cutoff date. “We’ve been able to hang in every game and usually keep up with all the top teams,” Reynolds said. “I don’t know if we deserve to be No. 2 in the state, but we hope to hang on to that seed. If we win our remaining games, we should be second or third in the state. “But, of course, you can’t tie in the state tournament and I don’t know if we have anyone who can score in a shoot-out. So we have to start getting more than one or two goals a game or else we’re not going very far in the states.” Scoring has certainly been a problem this season for the Colts. In fact, junior forward Mark Rivera leads the team with just 22 points. “So you can see the lack of scoring on our team,” Reynolds said. “We had three or four players a few years ago with over 30 points at this point.” One of them was James Van Riemsdyk, now a member of the USA National Team. “He’s supposed to go very high in the NHL draft,” Reynolds said of his former player. “He could go second or third in the draft, they’re saying.” CBA has won four state championships, the last coming in 2005 when it beat Delbarton in overtime at the Continental Arena. “Some people consider that the most exciting game ever,” Reynolds said. “Everyone there said so.” Reynolds also led the Colts to state titles in 1994, ’95 and ’96, the first time any school won three straight crowns. “And it hasn’t been done since,” Reynolds proudly pointed out. But while the Colts have been struggling on offense this season, they’ve been making up for it in other areas. “We’re getting good goaltending from Gary Kondler,” Reynolds said of his senior goalie. “And we’re also getting good leadership from our two senior co-captains, Eric Sudman and Kevin Kolbenschlag.” Sudman plays up front as a forward with Rivera, while Kolbenschlag is a defenseman. Two more key players on defense are sophomore Trevor Van Riemsdyk, James’ younger brother, and junior Mike Zuppe. “We only play three defensemen for the most part,” Reynolds said, “so those three play over 40 minutes a game. They’ve been holding up, and between them and Gary (Kondler), we’re only giving up two or three goals a game. “Now we just have to get the forwards going.”last_img read more