On Wednesday night, Red Bank Catholic will put its No. 1 seed to the test when Middletown North comes to the Red Bank Armory to battle with the Caseys in the semifinals round of the Shore Conference Tournament.
When the puck drops at 8 p.m. Red Bank Catholic will continue the defense of its 2013-14 conference championship, a goal the Caseys have sought since the start of this season, and a mission that has already propelled the club to an overall record of 16-5-3, as well as a Class A Central championship with a divisional mark of 10-1-1.
Since Jan. 9 Red Bank Catholic has compiled a 10-1-2 record – its only loss coming to Morris Knolls on Feb. 7 with seven of its top players out of the state due to club hockey obligations – and has cemented itself as one of the Top 15 teams in the state. And much of the program’s success has stemmed from the play of senior captain Todd Goehring.
“Todd has been the cornerstone for us all season long,” Caseys coach Ken Carlson said. “He’s certainly not a rah-rah sort of guy, but when he speaks it holds weight and his teammates know it. But he does lead by example, not only creating offense, but playing hard in the defensive zone as well.
Despite being one of the top two-way players in the Shore Conference, Goehring leads the Caseys in scoring with 51 points on 29 goals and 22 assists in 19 games.
“Todd has been a leader for us,” Carlson said. “He’s responsible defensively, a point producer, but what’s more is his concern for the success of this program, and his want to play high school hockey. The job he has done balancing travel with high school hasn’t been easy, but he has been committed to this program, and is a big reason why we are where we are.”
Goehring’s production places him tenth in conference scoring and tied for sixth in goals scored with teammate Evan Hoey.
Top-seeded Red Bank Catholic will play fourth-seeded Middletown North for the Handchen Cup on Wednesday, Feb. 18 at 8 p.m. at the Red Bank Armory, but before these two combatants take the ice get to know Goehring better by viewing his edition of the Captain’s Log.
1. You were voted into this captaincy role by your teammates. What did that mean to you?
TG: It really showed what the boys think of not only me, but the assistant captains as well. The leadership roles on this team are sort of unique because the players have so much input on it. So it meant a lot to me be selected by my teammates.
2. Every captain is different. What is your method of leading?
TG: I tend to lead more by example than I am vocal. Our assistant captain Matt Chinnici is more of the yeller, and the guy who likes to get the team fired up. I just like to set the tone on the ice by working hard, staying focused, and hopefully having the guys feed off that.
3. Is there a role model you have learned from that has influenced your leadership abilities?
TG: I have to look at Matt (Chinnici) for this. For the last five or six years he’s been the captain of our travel team (Goehring used to play with Chinnici on the NJ Jr. Titans, but this season transferred to the New Jersey Hitmen) and I learned a lot from him. He’s always led by a good example.
This season is my first time being a captain, so the experience is new to me. But I feel like, looking at what he’s done in past years, learning from that, and applying it here alongside him, we’ve done a real good job leading RBC.
4. Is there a player you’ve tried to model your game after?
TG: Jonathan Toews has been a big influence on me. What makes him a great leader and great player is that he plays at both ends of the ice. He never takes a shift off. He’s always working hard. His defense is just as strong as his offense. The Chicago Blackhawks are one of the top teams in the NHL, and he’s a big reason why.
5. What do you love about playing high school hockey?
TG: Playing for Red Bank Catholic, and high school hockey in general, provides players an unreal atmosphere. All your classmates and faculty, friends and family, they’re all there in the stands cheering you on every night.
With club hockey, you’ll have your parents and scouts in the stands, that’s where you get your looks for college and juniors, but there is nothing quite like the high school element. Every goal, every hit, every big play is electrifying, and everyone talks about it the next day at school. It’s an unreal experience and a lot of fun.
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