For the first time in several years, the River Dell ice hockey program has hit numerous milestones in a short period of time and among them is their first appearance in the state tournament since 2008.
The Hawks' 11-10-2 record also gives the team their highest season wins since 2006-07 and their first Big North Gold Cup playoff win in five years. River Dell defeated Clifton, 6-3 to finish out their regular season and then a day later defeated the Mustangs in the Gold Cup quarterfinals as sophomore Brett Connon unleashed his fury in the 4-2 victory. Connon, who netted the final shot, capped off the early lead provided Greg Rassam, Jacob Buchner and Richard Myers.
River Dell later fell to Paramus Catholic, 6-1, in the semifinals as Connon sneaked in a second period goal to avoid the shutout.
River Dell, which earned the #34 seed will face Millburn (31) on Sunday, Feb. 24, 12:15pm at the Codey Arena in the first round of the Public A state tournament. The winner will advance against second-seeded Randolph.
Bergen Catholic (7-12-3) was eliminated from the 2013 Gordon Cup Playoffs on Monday as the Crusaders were shutout, 6-0, by Gloucester Catholic Rams. Peter Negron made 35 saves in the loss.
Bergen was granted the 9th seed in the Non-Public state tournament and drew a first round match-up with St. Augustine (8th seed) on Feb. 27, 5:45pm.
After a disappointing North 1 Group 2 state sectional loss to High Point, 38-28, the River Dell Golden Hawks rounded out their season by defeating Paramus (36-35) and Ridge (54-24) but fell to Wayne Valley (34-30). Along the way, the Hawks broke the school record for most wins in a season and end their team campaign with a 25-2 record. The prior record was held by the 2007-2008 team which had won 23 matches. Just before their sectional final loss to High Point, River Dell defeated West Essex, 33-31.
The Bergen Catholic Crusaders picked up their second consecutive Non-Public A title by defeating Christian Brothers Academy, 64-9, as well as the North Non-Public A sectional title by trouncing archrival Don Bosco Prep, 32-24.
The Lady Hawks earned their 20th win of the season with a 41-39 victory over West Essex in a back-and-forth lead exchange and then completed their regular season by downing Dumont, 63-29, and Union City, 54-24.
The Golden Hawks fell 61-47 to Dumont on Tuesday night.
PJ Reed led the Crusaders scoring effort with 18 points but Bergen was unable to overcome reigning County champion Teaneck and fell 92-65.
River Dell boys and girls had high finishes in both the state Group 2 championships and Bergen County Championships this week.
Down in Toms River for the group tournament, the boys finished 21st overall in a tie with Indian Hills as Austin Beringer (shot put) and Calvin Hartman (pole vault) claimed a fifth place finish. The girls placed 9th overall as Paige Fernandez took second in the 800m, Laura Oh was fourth in the shot put and Bridget Brindley sixth in the pole vault.
Taking to the Armory Track Center in Manhattan, Zach Hubner and ernandez both ran to first place finishes in the 300 meter and 600 meter respectively. Also finishing in the top spots were Berniger (3rd shot put), Brandon Jurasin (2nd high jump), Christian DeSanctis (4th Triple Jump), Hartman (4th Pole Vault), Sam Schleiger (2nd 600m), Emily Croonquist (3rd 1,000m), Oh (3rd Shot Put), Marina Reilly (6th Long Jump), Norren Bryne (5th Triple Jump), Brindley (6th Pole Vault), and the girls 4-x-400 relay finished second.
Oh then took second in the shot put at the Garfield Classic while teammate Andrew Tummino finished fifth.
Bergen Catholic had five athletes medal at the Non Public Group championships behind Ted D'Amico (3rd pole Vault), Jack Lippin (3rd Shot Put), Kyle Queiro (3rd High Jump), sophomore Kyle Ellerson (6th 55m) and Dan Lynch (6th 400m).
The Crusaders also medaled at the County Championship with the following athletes: Lynch (2nd 600m), Bryan Catro (6th 600m), Matt Morano (4th 1,000m), Mike Whalen (2nd 3,200m), Lippin (4th Shot Put), D'Amico (5th Pole Vault), and the 4-x-400 relay was fifth.