Ice hockey team skates to the Prudential Center

The ice was scarred deep from hours of pre-game warm-ups. The arena was mostly empty, aside from one section filled with white shirts, as well as black and red shirts on the opposite side of the rink. Each side was chanting insults at the other.

At 6:30 p.m., the puck was dropped and the game began.

Through the postseason

Entering the postseason, The Glen Rock Ice Hockey team’s record was a collective 23 wins, three losses and three ties. The state championship opponent, Ramsey High School, had a comparable record of 25 wins, two losses and two ties.  

Glen Rock won its opening game against Central Region 11-1, preparing it to face Northern Highlands Regional. The final two matches against both Northern Highlands and Chatham were won by Glen Rock with scores of 6-1.

The winning streak put the team in the perfect position to face Mahwah in the semifinals.

Earlier in the year, the football team lost to Mahwah during the state finals at Metlife Stadium, increasing the intensity of this “re-match” game.

The final score was a victorious for Glen Rock. as they won 5-1. Glen Rock was ranked as the higher seed going into the state championship game at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ.

Glen Rock exiting the sidelines after warming up, moments before the game starts.
Glen Rock exiting the sidelines after warming up, moments before the game starts.

The Game

The gear was stacked up in the back of the bus. There was still a shadow of anxiety and stress that followed every player on the bus.

Previously, Ramsey had made it to the championship round two times, never returning with a victory. Glen Rock had fallen short of the opportunity to play in the state championship in 2015, losing to Ramsey in the state semi-finals.

“They were there before, but this was our first time being there. They had more experience. We didn’t. That’s it,” Eddie Corvelli (’18) said.

Matt Maselli (’18) agreed with Corvelli.

“Experience was a factor,” Maselli said.

Matt Maselli skates along the rights sidewall
Matt Maselli skates along the rights sidewall

On the first play of the game, Ramsey took the puck, leaving Glen Rock on defense. The game was tough, and the Panthers spent most of their time in their defensive end.

The clock showed less than 13 minutes remaining in the first period of play. Ramsey was leading Glen Rock in shots 3-0.

With encouragement from the roaring Glen Rock High School student section, players remained positive and never lost their momentum.

Six minutes and 30 seconds read on the clock. John LaMacchia (’18) knew that he needed to make a play in order to keep Ramsey from scoring. As the Ramsey player skated down the ice, LaMacchia did what he could and checked the offensive man.

The puck was released towards Glen Rock’s defensive side and retrieved by Ramsey’s Kyle Debel, who was leading the state in assists and third in points. Scoring his 87th career point, Debel produced the first goal of the game.

Despite the goal, the Glen Rock fans stayed enthusiastic, for there was still a significant amount of time left in the game.

Less than three minutes later, DeBel scored his second goal of the game and 30th of the season. His skills matched those of Eddie Corvelli, perfectly. They both led their teams in points during the season.

Utilizing the sides of the rink, DeBel was given another opportunity to score. With just 43 seconds left in the first period, he intercepted a pass and headed down to the net.

Tensions were high as time winded down. Jake Kinney (’17) shoved Ramsey player Greg Botz to the ice. Attempts were made to separate the two but the period ended before any penalty could be given.

The scoreboard read 2-0, Ramsey taking the lead entering the second period.

Glen Rock knew that they had to shoot the puck more. With Ramsey’s goalie Tyler Harmon’s saving percentage being 0.95, they knew that taking only four shots in a period was not going to cut it for the rest of the game.

For the 2015-2016 season, Harmon only let in 26 of the total 459 shots taken on him. According to Corvelli, “[Harmon is] top in the state statistics-wise. He made first team all county.”

Ramsey’s other star player, DeBel, made first team as well. However, this should not have been an advantage considering Jake Kinney and Justin Rosario (‘16) both made first team for Glen Rock. Thomas LaMacchia (‘16) and Matt Rosario(‘16) made second team. Corvelli made third team.

Glen Rock was fully aware of the even match they were playing. Goalie Matt Rosario had also only let in 26 goals during the season, totaling a 0.93 save percentage.

As soon as the second period started, Glen Rock had the puck and headed quickly toward Ramsey’s net. John LaMacchia shot the puck, which was deflected by Harmon.

The puck rebounded to Kinney, who took a shot of his own, falling backwards as Harmon made the save.

Both crowds were loud and rowdy, working in Glen Rock’s favor. With 11 minutes remaining, their first goal was scored.

The seniors took initiative, realizing this was the final game of their careers. Peter Bolt took the puck and swung across to Thomas LaMacchia who used the right side of the wall to set up a shot for Eric Spada.

Taking advantage of the set up, Spada shot immediately. Glen Rock was now down by one.

The celebration was short-lived.  Ramsey scored 18 seconds later, redeeming their two-goal lead.

Glen Rock High School students cheering on the players. The enthusiasm would begin to die down by the middle of the 2nd period.
Glen Rock High School students cheering on the players. The enthusiasm would begin to die down by the middle of the 2nd period.

With the score being 4-1 in the second period, Glen Rock was in a bad position.

The lack of enthusiasm from the fan section carried over to the players as they skated around the rink with thoughts racing through their minds.

The Ramsey players were elated.  They could picture themselves rushing out onto the rink following the final buzzer.  Their championship win was within arms reach.  All they had to do was keep up their lead.

With 13:27 left in the third, Anthony Steffe scored for Ramsey.

One by one, the sea of red and black began to dwindle, and fans started to leave the arena.

The sound of the buzzer resonated throughout the arena as the Ramsey players stormed the ice, their faces glowing with happiness and excitement.

It was the first time in seven years that the Ramsey Rams had won the state title.

Glen Rock’s nine seniors kept their heads high as they skated off the ice for the last time.

The bus ride home was quiet. Only the muffled sounds of equipment bags could be heard.  A glum feeling consumed the players. Thoughts were racing through their minds.  What could they have done better?  Was the loss anyone’s fault?

For the seniors, it was bittersweet.  They had never made it this far, however it wasn’t the outcome that they had hoped for. Despite the loss, the journey was memorable for them and being able to play at the Prudential Center was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Coach Fernandez recently stepped down as head coach.  Due to a busy schedule, he was unable to set aside the time needed to work with the players.

“I don’t think the team played as well as we wanted to. We were pumped up when we came in but on the ice it didn’t happen,” Corvelli said.

Glen Rock and Ramsey facing off on Ramsay's side of the arena
Glen Rock and Ramsey facing off on Ramsay’s side of the arena

An Open Net

Matthew Rosario and John Cunningham will be graduating this spring amongst their seven other teammates. This will leave the goalie position available next season.

Sophomores  Ryan McAuley and Ruslan Geiger are two of the possible goalie options, as well as freshman Max Lindley.

Although the rosters for the 2016-2017 season have not been confirmed yet, the coaches and players have a very good idea of what they will look like.

Kyle Debell tries to get around a Glen Rock player on Ramsey's side of the arena.
Kyle Debell tries to get around a Glen Rock player on Ramsey’s side of the arena.

Although Glen Rock lost the state championship, the team managed to hold onto the Big North Freedom league cup for the fourth year in a row.  This year, the Panthers defeated No. 1 seed St. Joseph’s, with the final score being 4-2.