Dear Crusaders Hockey Community,
Heading into the season, the Crusaders were coming off of a 5-16-2 campaign and were ranked 45th by NJ.com by year-end. Although a new coaching staff was brought on, expectations remained tempered as the Crusaders averaged less than six wins per season over the previous three years. For the first few weeks, it looked like this might be another tough campaign as the Crusaders opened with a 1-7 record.
However, we all heard the cliche' - sometimes you need to take one step back to move two steps forward. Patience and perseverance payed off. The systems implemented by the coaches started to take hold and the team started buying into the plan. Quality wins against Northern Highlands and St. Joe's Metuchen around the Holidays got the things started and when the Crusaders upset #4 Pope John in early January, everyone started to believe.
After the 1-7 start, the Crusaders finished the final 19 games of the the season with a 10-7-2 record going 6-1-1 down the stretch with wins over Gloucester Catholic and Morristown-Beard, and ties against Seton Hall Prep and Madison who was the top ranked public team at the time. The Crusaders cracked NJ.com's Top 20 for the first time by mid-February and reached the State Championship Frozen Four Semifinal with wins over Frisch, Pope John and CBA before losing a tight contest to Delbarton.
The Crusaders finished the season ranked the 9th best team in the State.
Although the program is graduating six seniors, the Varsity squad is returning eight forwards, five defensemen and a goalie, and top players are already in the pipeline for the future (see Team BC below).
Next season will be an exciting one!
Click Here to visit NJ.com's ranking list for this week.
Several players were recognized this year for numerous awards which would not be possible without the support of the entire team.
Seniors Chris Branch and Will Frassetto were named First Team All-County, Junior Jake Antonucci was named Second Team All-County and Senior Tommy Kleinman and Junior Nick Stoebling were named Third-Team All-County. Will Frassetto was also named to the All North Jersey squad as was Junior Devon Kelly, and Will Frassetto and Tommy Kleinman were Gordon Conference Honorable Mentions.
Seniors Will Frassetto and Tommy Kleinman, Juniors Brendan McCaskey and Nick Stoebling, Sophomore Matt O'Donnell and Freshman Antonio Arcaroli were NJ.com nominees for the State's top players for each grade.
Tommy Kleinman was also one of five nominees for Top Goal of the season. Click Here to watch goal!
The Crusaders Hockey annual year-end dinner was held on March 7th at the Terrace at Biaggio's in Paramus. On hand as special guests were Bergen Catholic Alumni and members of the 2001 and 2003 State Championship teams Matt Radoslavich and Jason May. Tommy Kleinman was this year's recipient of the Bergen Catholic Award for his demonstration of leadership, dedication and sportsmanship in the Crusaders tradition. Will Frassetto was named Team MVP and received the award for top scorer. Top defenseman honors was awarded to Jake Antonucci and Cam Monteverdi received the award for hardest working player.
For the Junior Varsity team, Junior Dan Scott was awarded the Team MVP. Matt Hughes was named the top forward, Zachary Cestero the top defenseman and Leonard Carlucci the hardest worker.
CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR CRUSADERS ON A GREAT SEASON AND
GOD SPEED TO OUR GRADUATING SENIORS!
Team BC - Future Crusaders from the 6th through 8th grades - participated in the Middle School Showcase at the Ice Vault Arena in March 2019 ... and was Team BC impressive! They went 3-0 in the Tournament with wins over Paramus Catholic, Wayne and St. Joe's Montvale outscoring the opposition 29-5. Team BC finished the tournament 1st out of 17 teams and incoming Freshman Ryan Henry was the top goalie during the skills competition.