Max Novak (bottom right of the trophy) is surrounded by his Union College teammates shortly after becoming the 2014 NCAA Men's Ice Hockey Champions. (Photo / Getty Images)
For the second year in a row a New Jersey native has helped his team capture the title of NCAA Frozen Four Champions.
Last year Kenny Agostino, Matt Beattie, Matt Killian, Charles Orzetti, and the Yale Bulldogs won the program’s first title by defeating their Whitney Ave. rivals, the Quinnipiac Bobcats. This year, it is Max Novak, a 6-foot center hailing from Oak Ridge, New Jersey who helped Union (N.Y.) defeat the Minnesota Golden Gophers.
The Gophers already have five championship titles in their corner and were aiming for number six, but were stopped by the Dutchmen. In a highly offensive game Union was able to outshoot and outscore Minnesota en route to their 7-4 victory.
|nDaniel Ciampini, Novak and Charlie Vasaturo celebrate a third period goal during the Frozen Four semi-final game against Boston College. (Photo / Getty Images) |
Novak played an instrumental part in Union’s run for the only title in the program’s history. Union head coach, Rick Bennett described Novak as a clutch player, and that is evident in his game winners alone.
This season after fighting through various injuries early on, Novak managed to tally up 29 points in 30 games and half of his 14 goals have in fact won the game for the Dutchmen.
His scoring continued in his team’s 5-2 win over Colgate to secure the ECAC Championship's Whitelaw Cup. The junior showed no signs of slowing down during the NCAA East Regional weekend in Bridgeport, Conn. While securing wins over Vermont and Providence to move on to the team’s second Frozen Four in three years, Novak was honored for most outstanding player. For what? He wracked up four more points for his stats sheet, two of which were gained by scoring the game winners in true clutch player fashion.
Union advanced to the Frozen Final with a 5-4 win over the Boston College Eagles. With both teams sitting as the number one seed in their conferences, The ECAC and Hockey East respectively, it was described as one of the toughest on the schedule. On the way to the final, Novak defeated fellow New Jersey native, Johnny Gaudreau, BC’s talented winger from Carney’s Point.
Novak contributed to his team’s final win of the season by notching an assist on Union’s third goal in the first period, and its fifth overall goal in the third.
Before committing to Union, Novak graduated from the Hill School in Pennsylvania and spent a season in the Eastern Junior Hockey League with the New Jersey Hitmen. His scoring prowess was evident even with the Hitmen, finishing fourth on the team with 61 points and an EJHL regular season championship.
New Jersey youth hockey has come a long way in recent years, and Novak is giving the Garden State yet another reason to be proud.
For more, head to NJ Youth Hockey Central.