Falcons earn important tie against Bridgewater


Staff Writer

METUCHEN — The St. Joseph High School ice hockey team bounced back from a two-goal deficit to Bridgewater-Raritan to tie the Panthers 2-2 at Rock Ice Pavilion in Dunellen on Friday.

The Falcons trailed 2-0 heading into the third period but picked up goals from sophomore Joe Williamson and senior Phil Lindner. William-son picked up his goal from the left wing, while Lindner netted the equalizer from center.

“That was a really good come from behind game for us,” St. Joe’s head coach Peter Kolodney said. “We scored both goals on power plays and were able to put 15 shots on goal in the third period. That’s not an easy building to play in or an easy team to play against.”

Bridgewater-Raritan outshot St. Joe’s 33-29 as Falcon goalie Mark Tanner saved 31-33 shots.

The Falcons are currently 6-3-3 with the cutoff date for state tournament eligibility set for Feb. 13. To qualify for the tournament, teams must have a .500 record. With the cut-off date looming on the horizon and with the Falcons fresh off a 4-1 loss to Morristown-Beard, the come-from-behind tie looks pretty noteworthy.

“We gave a solid effort against Morristown-Beard, and I don’t think the score was indicative of the effort,” Kolodney said. “They are probably a Top 10 team in the state, and we stayed with them despite being outshot 31-9.”

Tanner saved 27 of 31 shots with Morristown-Beard adding its final goal with 12 seconds on the clock.

“We had two breakaways in which we didn’t score,” Kolodney said. “We might have tied up the game in the second period if we converted and this could have affected the outcome. In terms of effort, we played hard.”

Senior captain George Helock put the Falcons on the board when he found the back of the net with 3:31 left in the third period. Helock leads the team with 11 goals this season.

“George’s goal came off a power play, and that gave us some momentum,” Kolodney said. “We had some chances but we just couldn’t get another score.”

It was certainly a busy week for Tanner in goal. He faced a combined 64 shots in two games.

“We’ve asked a lot from Mark this season,” Kolodney said. “He’s played really well, and because he’s a sophomore he still has some areas for improvement. But he’s certainly helped us this season.”

The Falcons are currently in second place in the New Jersey Interscholastic Hockey Central Conference Red Division with a 4-1-3 record in division play. They are currently 11 points behind front-runner Bridge-water-Raritan.

This week’s game with West Essex has been moved from its Jan. 25 date to Feb. 13 because it is exam week at West Essex. The Falcons will play at 6:45 p.m. Jan. 28 at Clary Anderson Rink in Montclair.

“Montclair is a team on the move,” Kolodney said. “They lost 3-2 to Bridgewater-Raritan but were up at one point. We beat them 4-2 earlier this year, and I expect them to be a very serious challenge. Our guys know they have to be ready.”