Though the semifinal round of the Shore Conference Ice Hockey Tournament has yet to begin, it isn’t too early to look ahead at the NJSIAA Tournament, which will see first-round competition kick off on Monday.
On Tuesday, the state seeding committee gathered at the NJSIAA headquarters in Robbinsville to seed the Non-Public, Public A, and Public B tournaments.
CBA (17-3-3) leads the Shore Conference into the Non-Public tournament, drawing a No. 3 seed behind No. 2 Don Bosco Prep and the perennial favorite that is Delbarton.
Delbarton enters the tournament in search of its seventh consecutive title of the sort, and eighth in the last nine seasons. Delbarton defeated Don Bosco in the 2012-13 finals by a score of 4-0, and took down CBA 3-2 the year prior.
CBA is the hunt for its fourth Non-Public crown and the team’s first since 2005, when the Colts defeated Delbarton 2-1 in overtime. CBA has not defeated Delbarton or Don Bosco in this regular season campaign, dropping a game and tying the Green Wave and skating to two ties against the Iron Men.
With its placement, CBA receives a first-round bye and is scheduled to play the winner of No. 19 St. Rose and No. 14 Bishop Eustace. The Frozen Roses (12-3-3) are a dark horse to go deep in this tournament, but recently worked past a highly-touted Brick team in the quarter-finals of the Shore Conference Tournament.
Red Bank Catholic drew a No. 10 seed and also receives a first-round bye. The Caseys (16-1-3), who played to an undefeated Shore Conference record (12-0-1) this season will see its first action against a New Jersey power in seventh-seeded St. Augustine.
Monsignor Donovan rounds out the 20-team tournament and enters off a Shore Conference Tournament showing in which the Griffins (10-8-3) recorded a major upset Freehold Township, before playing Howell to a hard-fought 1-0 finish in favor of the Rebels.
Despite the aforementioned first-round exit at the sticks of Monsignor Donovan, and other setbacks in a tough Class A North, Freehold Township has undoubtedly been one of the strongest programs in the Shore this season, and as a result leads the conference into the Public A tournament, drawing the No. 7 seed and first round meeting with No. 26 Lawrence/Ewing.
Howell, which defeated CBA 2-1 on January 17, drew a No. 9 seed and an opening-round game with No. 24 West Windsor-Plainsboro South while No. 12 Ocean, which features three of the top four scorers in the Shore Conference in Matt Schulz, Andrew Schulz, and David Newcomb, will host No. 21 River Dell/Westwood, and No. 13 Jackson Memorial will welcome Class A South division rival and No. 20 seeded Toms River East.
Southern drew the No. 15 seed and will host No. 18 Montgomery, and Manalapan rounds out the list of Conference competitors at No. 17. The Braves will travel (16) Hillsborough, who received one of three at-large bids granted by the committee.
Brick and Point Boro were two of the top teams in the Shore Conference throughout the 2013-14 regular season and received Public B seeds that reflected as much, as the Dragons were placed a No. 7 with the Panthers following closely at No 8.
In turn, the pair of Ocean County powers will both receive opening round home games at Ocean Ice Palace with Brick slated to host No. 26 West Morris Central, while the Panthers will welcome No. 25 Ramapo, another program granted an at-large bid into the big dance.
Middletown North will christen Middletown Ice World with the arena’s first taste of state tournament play as the No. 14 seeded Lions will open with No. 19 West Milford, while No. 17 Wall will travel to No. 16 Montville, and No. 24 Rumson-Fair Haven will head to No. 9 Kinnelon.
Second-round tournament games must be played by Friday, Feb. 28, while quarterfinal matchups are due to be played by March 3. Semifinal games will be played on March 5 and 6 at Mennen Arena in Morristown, with all Finals games to be held on March 9 at the Prudential Center in Newark.