Christian Brothers Academy, Morristown-Beard Become First New Jersey State Co-Champions Since 1989

After the non-public final between Christian Brothers Academy and Morristown-Beard ended in a 4-4 tie and co-champions, both teams skated over to congratulate their goalkeepers.

There was no celebration, no gloves and sticks flying in the air, no massive piles of players.

Just the handshake line.

“[To know that] teams can battle so hard and both be crying at the end, for politically correct purposes, it’s actually disgusting,” CBA coach Ryan Bogan said. “And I hope they take my words, and at least take them into consideration and know that now both teams are crying.

“You didn’t just lose, you tied. And it’s worst than losing.”

After regulation ended, the teams played a 15-minute overtime period. Despite a few good chances from both teams, no one scored. It was the first time since 1989 two teams were crowned co-champions.

When Morristown-Beard walked down the Prudential Center halls after receiving their 2014 Non-Public Championship trophy, none of the players smiled. They marched to the locker room mostly in silence.

Morristown-Beard coach Randy Velischek called the mood “dour.”

“It’s an emotional letdown,” Velischek said. “It doesn’t feel like a victory. If anything, it feels like a loss.”

After trailing 4-1 after the first period, CBA — which scored first — responded with three goals in less than two minutes in the second frame.

In third period and in overtime, both teams came close to finding the back of the net. Morristown-Beard’s Luke Moser created some, while Ben Hampton and Anthony Cusnaelli both generated a few scoring chances for CBA.

Morristown-Beard’s Danny Porth made some big save in the last two frames in the game, including a stop on a shorthanded CBA bid.

“We were very high and then there was a lull and a lull and things settled down,” Velischek said. “I thought the rest of the game was evenly played and well played by both teams.”

CBA scored 1:51 minutes into the game, with an unassisted tally from Christian Winters. But Morristown-Beard responded with four goals, scoring on seven shots.

“Cernero had bad breaks, we left him hanging out to dry,” Bogan said.

Less than two minutes after CBA went ahead 1-0, Michael Meisenbacher put Morristown-Beard on the board. Coleman Schultz followed up with a shot that snuck past Cernero five hole to put the Crimson up 2-1. Alec Borowiec and Isaac Davison assisted on the play.

Morristown-Beard continued to press in the period, and Thomas Rago and Luke Moser added goals a minute apart. Both plays started off CBA turnovers.

After a shaky first period for CBA, Bogan said William Antonides, Brendan van Riemsdyk and Anthony Cusanelli spoke up during the first intermission.

“Our character took over, our leadership took over. They knew the right words,” Bogan said. “They knew that we were as good if not better than that team and we had to settle down.”

After stepping up in the locker room. van Riemsdyk and Cusanelli combined to bring CBA within two. Van Riemsdyk found the puck in front of the net and sent it to his right, where Cusanelli put it past Porth.

Bobby Hampton  then scored on a backhanded tally, converting a feed from the point and defenseman Ryan Bogan. And 32 seconds later, Derek Contessa found the puck in a scramble by Morristown-Beard’s net, poking it in and tying the game.

“We had players trying to do too much again, back to where we were in December,” Bogan said. “[In the second] we got back to February hockey and March hockey and we got back in the game.”

It took 2:55 minutes for CBA to score three goals and knot the score at 4-4. The Colts took 16 shots in the frame, and Porth recorded 13 saves.

“There was some panic. Panic reigned,” Velischek said. “And then it settled. That’s just the nature, it’s always, there’s always ebb and flow.”

CBA’s defense improved in the second period as well, but Bogan swapped goalkeepers in the start of the period. He played Connor Silverstein and sat Cernero. Just 3:27 into overtime, Silverstein made a huge save to keep the game tied.

“In relief and in an environment like this, that’s a tough thing to ask and for him to go but there and do it, just I thought he was awesome,” Bogan said. “Not much more you can say to that.”

Even with the outcome, Velischek said he encouraged his players to appreciate the experience.

“They’re playing in front of 5,000 people, in front of your parents and the alumni and your peers,” Velischek said.

“To not have a winner declared, it’s a little, it’s bittersweet.”

Morristown-Beard’s Chris Brunner-Grande recorded an assist, while Luke Moser finished with a goal and an assist. CBA’s Bobby Hampton also recorded a goal and an assist, while Ryan Bogan and Michael Foggia added helpers.

Morristown-Beard reached the final after upsetting No. 1 Delbarton, the winner of six state titles in a row. This was CBA’s first trip to the finals since 2012, when the Colts lost to Delbarton.

“We didn’t stop, we battled until the end. And that’s what it was,” Bogan said. “It was a war of attrition and it’s like going to battle. I don’t know, do you retreat or something? I don’t know what that was, in battle.

“I don’t even, like do you come in the locker room and [what do you] say to your kids? Thank you for all your hard work but you got nothing to show for it? I don’t know.”

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