It was all in the name of a good cause, an intense rivalry and extending a family tradition.
The Food Bank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties was the main beneficiary of Sunday’s 16th annual Shore High School All-Star Hockey Game presented by Jim Dowd’s Shoot for the Stars Foundation, in which the Monmouth County All-Stars registered a 9-7 victory over their rivals from Ocean County.
The victory at the Red Bank Armory gave Monmouth an 11-5 edge in the series.
Whenever Monmouth needed a boost, Christian Brothers Academy’s Brendan van Riemsdyk obliged. His three-goal, one-assist performance earned him his team’s No. 1 star of the game award, making him the the third van Riemsdyk brother to be so honored. James van Riesmdyk, the former CBA star who now plays for the Toronto Maple Leafs and was on hand to participate in a ceremonial pregame puck drop on Sunday, won the award in 2004. Middle brother Trevor van Riemsdyk was a 2009 recipient.
“It’s a really nice accomplishment, considering there are so many great players in this game,” Brendan van Riemsdyk said. “It was a cool thing to have Jim here. He’s done so much for high school hockey in New Jersey and to see him come back for this kind of even is great. This game is for such a great cause, but you come for a great game and the rivalry (between the counties) just adds to it.”
“Jimmy has done such a great job with this game and it’s hard to believe it’s already been around for 16 years,” James van Riemsdyk said. “It seems like I was just out there yesterday. And to see how the sport has grown on the high school level in New Jersey is very impressive. The talent level and depth continues to grow.”
Brick’s Andrew Reiss, who sparked Ocean’s efforts with a goal and assist, was his team’s No. 1 star. Defenseman Tom Panico of Wall was Monmouth’s No. 2 star, adding a goal and a pair of assists. Panico’s goal with 15:55 to play in the third period gave Monmouth a 6-5 lead it never relinquished.
Joey Campisano of Toms River North, who had a goal and an assist was star No. 2 for Ocean.
Campisano’s goal off an assist from Ian Turner of Toms River North with 12:13 remaining in the third period brought Ocean within 7-6.
But van Riemsdyk netted his hat-trick score 54 seconds later and 35 seconds after that, CBA’s Matt Langlois scored on a breakaway to give Monmouth some breathing room.
The lead went back and forth in the second period. When spillover of the rivalry led to an Ocean power play early in the period, Brick’s David Kearns capitalized, to knot the score at 3. Less than a minute later, Reiss gave Ocean a 4-3 edge.
But van Riemsdyk asserted himself, getting to a loose puck off a scramble to tie it at 4 midway through the period.
Kearns fed Reiss for his second goal of the game with 6:40 left in the second period and Ocean had its final lead at 5-4.
Once again, van Riemsdyk played a role in a Monmouth goal, knocking a rebound toward St. Rose’s Pat McKerry, who scored to make it 5-all.
“Every year the game has been a great success and today was no exception,” said Dowd, the former Brick star whose 17-year NHL career included being a part of the Devils’ 1995 Stanley Cup championship. “I was surprised how many people were here considering how nice it was outside but we had a great crowd and a great game.”