Sunday, April 14, 2024

PJ Ice Hockey’s Success Continues, 8-4 Record Heading into Final Stretch

Senior Johans Bars skating during the game against St. Peter’s Prep. Photo by A. Nowel, 01/2024.

The Pope John Lions ice hockey team began their season with three wins and two losses, sending them to their next game against the St. John Vianney Griffins. Even though a tough loss sent the Lions home in a bad mood, the next six of seven games would end in wins for the Lions, improving them to 8-4 in the season as this season hits the final stretch.

After the 3-1 loss to the Griffins, the Lions won the Ice Vault Classic by going 3-0 and winning games against the Ramapo Gryphons, Middletown South Eagles and Ridge Red Devils. It started just after Christmas with a 5-0 win over the Gryphons on December 26. Five different players scored for the Lions in this win as they were scoreless after one period, but scored three goals in the second period and two goals in the third period to seal the win.

Next was the Eagles as the Lions couldn’t defeat the Eagles as easily as the Gryphons, but pulled out the 4-3 win behind an early four goals that helped the Lions to hold on for the win. The Lions and Eagles were tied after the first period at one, but the Lions scored three unanswered goals to take a 4-1 lead into the second intermission. The Eagles weren’t done yet as they scored halfway through the third period to shorten the Lions’ lead down to 4-2, and then scored again to bring the score to 4-3 in favor of the Lions. The last goal, however, was scored with five seconds left to play, so it was too little too late, and the Lions won again in the Ice Vault Classic.

The final game of the Ice Vault Classic was against the Red Devils for the Lions. They took care of business against the Red Devils, defeating them 5-1 behind sophomore Hunter Parrillo’s two goals. It was a great way to end 2023 for the Lions as they improved to 6-3 in the season with the three wins at the Ice Vault Classic.

This year started off the worst way it possibly could as the Lions took a 10-0 loss to the Bergen Catholic Crusaders on January 3. They bounced right back with a 6-2 victory over the Saint Peter’s Prep Marauders the next day and then shut out the Morristown-Beard Crimson on January 8 to improve to 8-4 in the season.

The Lions are 8-4, but they aren’t doing that well in the conference as they are 1-3 in Gordon (national division). They played January 13 against the St. Joe’s (Metuchen) Falcons and will host the St. Joe’s (Montvale) Green Knights on January 15 with the puck dropping at 6:50 p.m. Lions head coach Ryan Brown knows these two games will set the tone for the rest of the season as the Lions look to continue their winning ways.

Andrew Nowel, Contributing Sportswriter
Contributing Sportswriter

Currently enrolled at Canisius University in Buffalo, New York, Andrew Nowel is an up-and-coming journalist/photographer and broadcaster. He wrote sports' articles for his high school, Pope John XXIII Regional High School. Andrew has worked with Morris Sussex Sports in sports broadcasting and analyzes professional sports in his free time. Andrew and his friend Ryan have a podcast that talks about professional sports and Canisius Athletics. Andrew also runs his own website about Canisius Athletics. He strives to inform the people about local sports and the young athletes of our communities from Buffalo to New Jersey and everywhere.

Andrew has provided previous and remarkable sports stories and photographs for the Ridge View Echo since he was 16 and enrolled at Pope John High School.