Puck Magnet: The sophomore sensation and the Panthers’ playoff run

by Jack Jensen, Staff Writer

Coach Fernandez says he’s like magnet.

Jake Kinney broke through the neutral zone with deceptive speed and into the slot; he received the pass from his linemate, senior-captain Matt Roy, who was behind the opposing team’s net. The puck slid through defenders onto the white tape of Kinney’s Bauer stick as he skated towards the slot. He then chipped the puck towards the goaltender and into the back of the net for his first varsity goal.

Kinney is now skating on the first line with Brandon Rosario and Colin Morrow. In Kinney’s first seven varsity state playoff games he had five points.

“I try to approach every game the same way, but the state playoffs are such big games I end up taking more time to prepare, as does.” Kinney said regarding his preparation for the state playoffs.

He currently has over a point a game average and has 83 points in 54 career games, according to Coach Fernandez. That is an excellent number to have for any player, let alone a player in his first two varsity seasons.

Last season, Kinney had just one point in three state playoff games, while this season he had four points in four games. Kinney has proved he can still produce at a very high level come playoff time. He is a proven clutch player who leads by example.

In the team’s first state game this season, he had two points being one goal and one assist. The team would go on to win the game against Central Regional 6-0.

After a dominating victory over Central Regional, the team would go on to play Mahwah in the second round. Kinney had two assists in this game including a pass to linemate, captain Brandon Rosario for a shorthanded goal to give Glen Rock the 3-2 lead. After two quick second period goals by Mahwah to finish off the second period Glen Rock found themselves trailing 4-3 to the lower seeded Mahwah.

After a big goal from captain Brandon Rosario with 12:04 remaining in the final period the hockey team found themselves tied. Just eight minutes later came a huge goal from junior Luke Visconti. This goal would give Glen Rock the lead and the 5-4 victory as they would advance to the next round of the state playoffs.

They would go on to face Nutley in the quarter-final game. This game against the 11 seeded Nutley would prove to be a well played game on both ends. The game began with the faceoff at center ice as does every game for the Panthers. The entire game was a barrage of shots from the Panthers on the Nutley netminder Joe Hoarle. Hoarle faced a total of 60 shots in this game 19 more than he had faced against any other team all season. Hoarle was truly standing on his head all game.

Early in the first period freshmen Eddie Corvelli skated hard down the right side of the ice and threw a hard wrist shot towards the bottom right corner of the net however it would be turned away by Hoarle’s pad.

Soon after senior point leader Mike Frade skated towards the puck down the right side of the ice and into the Glen Rock zone and then quickly turned and fired a hard wrist shot towards the net which would slide past goaltender Matt Rosario and into the crease.

However Rosario noticed he didn’t have the puck and he then turned around and leapt onto the puck to freeze it before an opposing player could chip it into the net. At roughly 10 minutes into the game Peter Tatigian was skating through the neutral zone and into the Nutley zone as he intercepted the puck.

Tatigian turned it on and skated into the slot as he threw a backhand on net and this shot would prove to be successful as it would the top left corner of the net and go in. Tatigian’s clutch goal would give Glen Rock the 1-0 lead over Nutley with 10 minutes to go in the first period.

Later on towards the end of period Nutley would have a power play but they would not be able capitalize on the man advantage despite a good wrist shot from Frade. The period would end with Glen Rock leading 1-0 over Nutley.

The second period began with both teams leaving it all out on the ice for the game that could potentially end their season. After a faceoff win from Kinney, Brandon Rosario would throw a wrist shot towards Hoarle who would snag it with the glove to keep the game at 1-0.

After a few good chances from Justin Rosario, Hoarle was able to knock the puck into the corner to keep it at a close 1-0 game. Glen Rock was truly a dominant force in this game until a bad line change led to a 2-on-1 opportunity for Nutley. Senior Zach Vaughan skated into the Glen Rock  zone with Frade along side.

Vaughan would then line up his shot and shoot towards the top right of the net for the goal to knot this game up at 1-1. According to jerseysportsnow.com, Brandon Rosario described Hoarle as “lights out.”

Hoarle’s performance on this night was nothing short of astonishing. Hoarle posted a ridiculous save percentage of 0.966 percent.

Hoarle turned chance away throughout the second and third periods including a 2-on-1 rush lead by Brandon Rosario, a breakaway from Brandon Rosario and a good backhand opportunity from Luke Visconti. Brandon Rosario led the odd-man rush but settled for the wrist shot which landed in Hoarle’s glove. Later on defenseman Tom LaMacchia falling down at the point was able to get off a pass onto the stick of the crashing forward Brandon Rosario who after a few nifty moves is denied by Hoarle.

Not too long after a turnover by Nutley Visconti would attempt to slap the puck into the net but the opportunity is once again denied by Hoarle.

After over a period and a half of a scoreless game Glen Rock prevailed with just 56 seconds remaining on the clock before they would go into a shootout. As Brandon Rosario would evade a pair of defensemen as LaMacchia would crash to the net. Rosario noticed Lamacchia cutting to the net and he passed the puck as it slid past the defense onto the tape of Lamacchia’s stick.

Lamacchia noticed the pass and then chipped the puck into the net for the overtime game winner. Lamacchia would fall down as he would take the shot then glide into the boards only to be jumped on by teammates.

After a thrilling 2-1 victory over Nutley, Glen Rock would go on to face the two seeded Ramsey. Ramsey is led by senior Alex Whelan. Whelan, the Quinnipiac commit, has had back to back 40 goal and 80 point seasons. Last year finishing with exactly 80 points and this year finishing with 81. Whelan would prove to be Glen Rock’s biggest threat on the ice.

The three seeded Glen Rock would roll into the arena to face the 2 seeded Ramsey Rams. This game would prove to be a tough test for the lower seeded Panthers.

The game began like no other with the starters of both teams standing on their blue lines facing the still american flag as the national anthem was sung. The game then began with the opening face off  as does every other game. The game was evenly matched with equal time of puck control for both sides.

The tie was broken at the with 14 seconds left in the first period by a backhand from Brandon Rosario over the top left shoulder of Ramsey goaltender Tyler Harmon. Glen Rock would go into the second period with the 1-0 lead against the Rams.

The second period began much like the first even play through the first eight minutes with penalties mixed in. While Glen Rock was on the power play Brandon Rosario held the puck at the point and looked over to pass it across, however it was intercepted by Rams standout Alex Whelan who took it coast-to-coast and deked out Glen Rock goalie Matt Rosario to even the score at one apiece.

Just a minute later Anthony Steffe would go in on the 2-on-1 and snipe Matt Rosario to give Ramsey the 2-1 lead with 10:43 minutes remaining in the second period. The rest of the period would be dominated by Ramsey controlling the puck for most of the period. Later on in the period the Rams were setting up on the power play when Connor Edwards received the setup from Brandon O’Callahan for the goal.

This was O’Callahan’s second assist of the game as he assisted on the Steffe goal earlier on in the period. The second period was all Ramsey as the dominated and scored three goals to give them the 3-1 lead entering the last period.

The game was full of scrappy play and questionable calls that could’ve gone in favor of either team. The game was fought hard as every senior left it all out on the ice knowing that this could be their last high school game. The scrappy play included a boarding call in the second period on junior forward Peter Bolt which led to a five minute major.

Bolt clearly shaken up on the play stayed down on the ice nearly motionless for several minutes. This play got the entire riled up and let to plenty of solid scoring opportunities. However, they couldn’t prevail.

The third period began with big open ice hits and physical play as senior captains Brandon Rosario, Peter Tatigian, Griffin Meyers and Ryan Castellano knew this could be their last time stepping on high school ice. The game remained 3-1 despite plenty of odd man rushes for the Panthers and solid opportunities.

With just over two minutes remaining the Panthers pulled their goalie in a desperate attempt to advance to the state finals and with just 1:53 remaining in the period off a setup from Kinney, Brandon Rosario potted his second goal of the game to put the Panthers behind by just one goal with just under two minutes remaining in the game.

Despite leaving it all out on the ice the Panthers couldn’t prevail and would go on to lose the game to Ramsey who would make their return to the finals. As the Rams spilled over the bench with joy jumping on other players with the excitement written all over their faces.

Panthers players walked out of the bench and onto the ice to comfort seniors and other players who stood on the ice as they looked on at Ramsey’s celebration. As they stood there in disbelief a “Thank You” chant from the Glen Rock student section echoed throughout the arena, thanking the team for a terrific and exciting run throughout the playoffs.


Humble beginnings

At just four years old, Kinney began skating. Feeling angered and frustrated, he skated around struggling to maintain his balance and stay on his feet. Had Kinney quit then, he wouldn’t have become the player he is today, and he never would’ve scored his first varsity goal, the moment which he fell in love with hockey.

Entering his freshman year, Kinney, 15,  knew the upcoming season would difficult. He expected a faster-paced game.

He skated on the first line alongside captains Matt Roy and Mike Buckel. Kinney finished fourth on the team with 37 points last season: 14 goals and 23 assists. As a freshman.

“We were hoping,” Fernandez said, “that Jake equal his point production as more of a playmaker. It’s very difficult to put expectations on a returning player who loses his All-County linemates, Matt Roy and Mike Buckel, to graduation.”

This season, though, Kinney proved he was a truly gifted player.

Kinney was the team leader in points this past season with 45: 16 goals and 29 assists, despite only being a sophomore.

“He’s got great vision of the ice, so you can always rely on him to make the right play,” teammate Colin Morrow, sophomore, said.

Kinney’s on-ice vision and reliability is part of what makes him such an incredible playmaker and leader on the ice.

Coach Fernandez said that the team uses Jake as an example who shows the younger and smaller players still go out there and play with confidence, despite their size or age.

Kinney is truly a prolific playmaker who attempts to model his game after NHL All-Star Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks because Kane’s got “great vision and is always making the smart play.”

Yet Fernandez and Morrow both compared him to one of the all time great forwards, Jaromir Jagr of the Florida Panthers.

Morrow believes he is similar to Jagr because “Jagr has such great vision of the ice he’s strong and has good hands and he just finds a way to finish every time.”

While Coach Fernandez believes Kinney is similar to Jagr because of “how he protects the puck on the boards, the way he protects the puck is probably one big ones, someone who coming down the left side and can snipe, I’d say Jagr is probably the closest thing.”

While Kinney is a terrific player he’s also a terrific person.

“He’s a nice kid, I don’t know, he’s just nice,” Morrow said when asked what he thinks of Kinney as a person.

No one had a bad thing to say about Jake.

“He’s a pretty humbled kid too,” Fernandez said.

Not only is Kinney described as a great person but two years ago in eighth grade he was honored with the citizenship award which only one male student in the grade receives.

“I just remember writing an essay detailing the things I had done in the previous year. I was honored and happy to win such an award.” Kinney said.

According to junior Lilia Wood, teachers vote on the winners of the Citizenship award and the Leadership award. Kinney’s teachers voted for him to win such an award and all noticed that he is and was going to be a great young man and would go on to accomplish great things.

As previously stated, according to Coach Fernandez, Kinney has 83 points at the end of this season. Kinney’s older brother, Jimmy, who graduated in 2010, is tied with Greg Andrake, also a 2010 graduate, for the school record for career points with 144 according to Coach Fernandez. Kinney is currently on pace to beat the previous record as he currently has 83 in his first two varsity seasons.

“I think I can,” Kinney stated in reference to breaking his older brother Jimmy’s record. “I would need to stay healthy for the next two seasons.”

Not only is Kinney confident, but many of his teammates also believe that he can break this record.

“ It would be great to break his record, but I’m sure he’ll have an excuse if I do,” Kinney stated.