Toms River South
completed what will surely go down as one of the most improbable runs in New Jersey high school hockey history, defeating Randolph, 2-1, to win the Public A Championship
this afternoon at Prudential Center. The Indians, who entered the tournament as the 16th seed, captured the first state title in school history despite being outshot 47-10 in the contest.
, who despite having already knocked off top ranked Morris Knolls
and #4 seed Brick Memorial en-route to the final, came in as heavy underdogs to the defending champions.
The Indians struck first when Todd Unger took a nifty backhand feed from Jay Malone
and beat Randolph goaltender Mike Pollio to give Toms River a 1-0 lead at 9:07 of the first. The Rams applied a lot of pressure, outshooting the Indians 14-5 in the first period, but goaltender Pat Kerney made several big saves to preserve the lead.
Just over a minute into the second, Malone circled behind the net and threw a pass in front that Andrew McGee buried to put Toms River up 2-0. Randolph defenseman Nick Hardie nearly cut the lead in half late in the period with a blast from the point, but the shot rang off the post and the score remained 2-0 heading into the third.
Kerney was nearly perfect, stopping the first 31 shots he faced, until Patrick Swift’s marker at 1:35 pulled the Rams to within one. The sophomore netminder carried Toms River over the game’s final 13 minutes, making 15 saves and withstanding a barrage of quality scoring opportunities in the process.Public A All-Tournament Team
Goaltender: Pat Kerney, Toms River South
Defenseman: Tom Hackett, Montgomery
Defenseman: Matt DaSilva, Randolph
Forward: Jay Malone, Toms River South
Forward: Anthony Lobianco, Brick Memorial
Forward: Nick Kovary, Randolph
Matt DaSilva with Defenseman Paul Martin