Hopewell hockey squad looking to pick up pace

Ice hockey

By: Mike Molaro
   If the Hopewell Valley Central High School ice hockey team wants to make some noise in the Mercer County and state tournaments, it will have to play better than it did in a pair of losses last week.
   The Bulldogs (13-7-1 overall, 8-2-1 in the Colonial Valley Conference) dropped a 3-0 decision to Notre Dame on Feb. 11 and lost to West Windsor-Plainsboro South 3-0 Monday. HoVal last Friday on the road downed Governor Livingston 7-0.
   Junior goalie Bryan Driver made 20 saves against the Irish, who ended HoVal’s seven-game unbeaten streak.
   "We played a great second period," said Bulldogs coach Rob Siris, whose team trailed 1-0 after two periods. "We had a tough time with their odd-man rushes and getting traffic in front of the net, but our intensity level was there.
   "We saw a lot of little things watching the film of this game. We need to be more disciplined and capitalize on our opportunities."
   HoVal defeated South 5-2 earlier this season, but couldn’t get anything going offensively Monday against the Pirates.
   "We were flat in the first two periods," Siris said. "South is faster than us, so we wanted to take the body. We gave up a goal with eight seconds remaining in the first period off a bad clearing pass.
   "Their goalie (senior Jeff Katz) played well. We got our shots, and we hit the post twice, but against the better goalies we need to have traffic in front of the net."
   Junior forwards Pete Carroll and Greg Amato each scored two goals in the triumph over Governor Livingston of Berkley Heights. Freshman defender Tom Kawalec, junior forward Ben Frank and freshman forward Eric Doran each scored a goal, while junior goalie Bryan Driver recorded the shutout.
   "We came out hard and had a pretty solid effort," Siris said. "This game was a good challenge for us. We played pretty solidly."
   The Bulldogs face what Siris called "a big week for us" as they visited perennial state power Montclair yesterday (Wednesday) and face WW-P North on Friday at Mercer County Park. Fourth-seeded HoVal takes on Princeton in the quarterfinals of the Mercer County Tournament on Monday at Mercer County Park.