After last season's disappointing 6-17 campaign, the River Dell ice hockey team has decided that this is their year to shine. The Golden Hawks already got off to a great start by splitting their opening games with a 5-2 win over Hackensack and an 8-1 loss to Paramus Catholic.
“I think we’re really excited to play this season” senior captain Nick Parke said. “We have played better than recent years. None of us think that this game will reflect and/or demonstrate what we’re going to look like for the rest of the season.”
Trailing the Comets by the end of the first period, Jason Conroy scored back-to-back goals in the second to take the lead for River Dell. The Golden Hawks' Greg Rassam, Jack Scaefer and Brett Connon added goals in the third period and secured the win. Connor O’Reilly had 32 saves.
“We are more cohesive as a unit and together as a team," junior Matt Candrilli said. "I feel with such team comradery we can pull off a great season.”
Facing the Paladins, both teams got off to a slow start with River Dell behind by one point but once the second period took off, so did Paramus Catholic.
The Paladins exploded with five goals in the second period, two of which were on power plays. At the end of the period, PC was ahead 6-0 and would tack on another two within five minutes of starting the final period.
The Golden Hawks tried to come back as Schaefer netted the lone River Dell goal off a Brett Connon pass in the third period and avoid a shutout.
River Dell’s goalie, Chris DeTitta, had a total of 39 saves during the game.
“It was a tough game” DeTitta said. If we play that way against other teams this season I know we’ll do well.”
Senior captain Connor O’Reilly noted “this team is a pretty good one. We played hard to the end and if we continue to play this way, we’ll definitely get some more wins for the season.”
Even with splitting their first two games, River Dell still have high hopes this season, although they will face a tough schedule ahead of them in the Big North Gold Division.
The Hawks will compete against Ridgewood, Passaic Valley, Dumont, Fair Lawn, West Orange, Morris Hills, Bayonne, Monsignor Donovan and Clifton through February.
Editor's Note: Isabella Congemi is a student in the River Dell High School Senior Options Program.