Hockey team begins 2006 with two romps


By: Rudy Brandl
   The Hillsborough High ice hockey team roared into 2006 with a pair of convincing victories last weekend.
   Saturday’s 8-0 shutout triumph over West Orange gave the Raiders a commanding two-game lead in the Central Blue Division. HHS improved its divisional mark to 6-0, while West Orange and Livingston are tied for second at 4-2. West Orange could have forced a tie atop the Blue Division standings, but the Raiders quickly asserted their dominance in this game.
   HHS sophomore goaltender Eric Visnovsky stopped all 17 shots he faced for his second shutout of the season. Visnovsky preserved a 3-0 lead through two periods before the Raiders erupted for five goals in the third.
   Junior wing Alex Merry led the offense with two goals and three assists. Six other Raiders scored in a balanced assault – Dominick Valenzano, Kevin Nunes, Matt Janos, Matt Daugherty, Corey DeFranco and James Nobilio. Sophomore Joe Kubrak dished out two assists, while Eric Psihoules, Chris Szulc, Gregg Calvaruso, Janos, Valenzano and Nunes added one apiece.
   The Raiders started the new year with an 11-1 mercy rule rout of Millburn on their home Aspen Ice rink. Junior Michael Lysyj ignited the attack with two goals and three assists. Janos had a goal and four assists for the Raiders, who enjoyed a 55-17 advantage in shots.
   Other scoring contributors included DeFranco with two goals and one assist and Kubrak and Psihoules with a goal and an assist each. Merry, Szulc, Calvaruso and Nobilio also tallied for the winners.
   Hillsborough (10-1) will host Johnson Regional of Clark Friday.
Boys split close
ones to start year
The HHS boys’ basketball team halted a three-game holiday skid by winning its first January game vs. Hunterdon Central. Two nights later, the Raiders lost a tough one at Watchung Hills in the final seconds.
   Hillsborough (3-4) battled back from an early deficit against Central, outscoring the visitors in the final three quarters to post a 59-51 victory. Tom Molarz and Tom Pappalardo tallied 13 points apiece to lead a balanced attack. Neither junior guard hit a 3-pointer, but they combined to make 16 free throws.
   Rob Champoullion and Brett Bisconti added eight points apiece and Ryan Kloss chipped in with six for the winners. Molarz also had four rebounds and two steals to go with his points.
   The Raiders played another tight game Thursday in their Delaware East Division opener. Watchung Hills won it by a 52-50 margin when Justin Matisak hit a lay-up with 3.4 seconds remaining in regulation.
   Kloss scored a season-high 13 points to lead Hillsborough. Molarz and Pappalardo finished with 11 points apiece.
   Hillsborough (3-4) was scheduled to host Franklin, Montgomery and East Brunswick this week, hoping to use the homestand to jump over the .500 mark. The Raiders entered the week with a 2-0 home record and 1-4 mark on the road.
Wrestlers drop two
vs. different Panthers
A combination of illness and injury left the Raider wrestling team depleted for Saturday’s match vs. Bridgewater-Raritan. The result was a lopsided 58-15 victory for the Panthers.
   HHS forfeited six bouts and went 3-5 in contested matches. The best bout of the day came at 160 pounds where Hillsborough junior Frank McLaughlin posted a 4-2 decision over Wayne Hampton in a rematch of McLaughlin’s 3-2 victory in the recent Somerset County 152-pound semifinals.
   Adam Kull (125) and Chris Ambrose (140) registered pins for Hillsborough’s other 12 points.
   The Raiders began their January slate against a rugged Roselle Park team and wrestled well in a 38-22 loss. HHS and Park split the 12 contested bouts and the Panthers had a modest 26-22 edge on the mat.
   Hillsborough won four straight bouts from 152 to 189 with McLaughlin (technical fall), Mike Collins (3-2 decision), Kenny Lake (11-5 decision) and Ernie Guaimano (5-3 decision). The other HHS victories came from Kull at 125 (9-1 major decision) and Joey Guido at 135 (3-0 decision).
   The Raiders were hoping to get healthy for this week’s home matches vs. North Hunterdon and Somerville Wednesday and Thursday, respectively. The team then begins a five-match road swing at Ridge Saturday.