New Jersey 16U closes in on spot at Nationals
March 11, 2013
The NJ Jr Titans 16U team of the North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) is just two wins away from representing the Atlantic District at the 16U Tier I Nationals in April. Two wins in this coming weekend’s best out of three Championship Series at IceLine in West Chester, PA against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Jr Knights U16 National Team is all that it will take. That’s because the Titans outscored their three opponents at the District Qualifier Round Robin by a margin of 19-5 en route to going 3-0 against Team Comcast, the New Jersey Rockets, and Philadelphia Little Flyers.
In Game 1 of the Atlantic District Qualifier, the Titans used a strong third period outscoring Comcast 3-0 in the third leading to a 5-1 win in the opening game of the Round Robin. Goals were scored by Greg Malafronte, Mike Gelatt, Ryan Walker, Jeff Morgan, and Charlie Singerhouse is support of Mike Cernero who made 25 saves in the win.
In Game 2 of the Qualifier, the Titans gave up the first goal to the Rockets, but in true determined fashion, steamrolled the hated rivals by scoring 8 unanswered goals on their way to an 8-1 victory. Goals were scored by Malafronte who had a hat trick, Singerhouse wth two, Chris Wuestneck, Tim Gelatt, and Erik Layton in support of Cernero.
In Sunday’s Game 3 of the Qualifier, one point secured the Titans trip to the District Championship next weekend. The Titans said the hell with one or two points, let’s get all three and that they did. Titan goals were picked up by Anthony Cusanelli, Matt Kidney, Andrew Dicks, Malafronte, Brad Becker, and Singerhouse again in support of Cernero who was strong all weekend.
Team leader and National veteran Tim Gelatt commented,“It felt good that we just made it in, that we had another chance, but it feels even better that we got further than last year’s group. This year we ended up beating teams that we had not been able get past. Last year we lost to Comcast when it mattered, and this year we were outstanding against them and our win Friday against Comcast set the tone for the weekend.”
“I feel that we got back on track once high school season ended as it helped us to get back together. After the Wilkes-Barre game, we came back together, we had tough practices that drove us to this point. I feel that we were prepared well by our staff, because we knew after we lost to the Avalanche, we had to come back stronger than ever and we knew we needed to buckle down and leave it all on the ice.”
As far as what made the difference from last year’s National team to this year’s group, Coach George Haviland said,“We have a lot of confidence in ourselves right now, but we have more work to do as the ultimate dance is Nationals. I feel the NAPHL trips have been a big part of our success. The biggest difference between last year’s group and last year’s group is the bond in the locker room and our depth this year. This group is so focused and driven at this point in time.”
The District Championship Weekend is March 15th-17th where teams will play a best of three series with the winning team representing the Atlantic District at USA Hockey’s U16 National Championships. The Schedule for the U16 Series is as follows:
Friday, March 15th: NJ Jr Titans @ WBS Jr Knights, 8:15 PM @ IceLine, West Chester, PA
Saturday, March 16th: WBS Jr Knights @ NJ Jr Titans, 12:30 PM @ IceLine, West Chester, PA
Sunday, March 17th: NJ Jr Titans @ WBS Jr Knights, 12:30 PM @ IceLine, West Chester, PA (IF NECESSARY)