WALL – The consensus around the Shore Conference is that when Rumson-Fair Haven plays a complete 45 minutes of hockey, the club is dangerous, capable of stifling the most high-powered offenses and possessing one of its own that attacks opponents in waves.
The Bulldogs delivered such a display Tuesday night at the Jersey Shore Arena, downing divisional opponent St. John Vianney 7-3.
“We knew this was a big divisional game, and we knew we had to play hard. There’s a big difference between being one-and-two or two-and-one,” Rumson senior Robbie Garavente said.
The Bulldogs entered Tuesday night’s tilt off an opening-night loss to St. Rose in which a late third-period goal proved to be the disappointing difference, and even after Rumson rebounded with a 6-4 victory over Manasquan, there was still a bitter taste left in this club’s mouth, according to Garavente.
“That St. Rose loss was tough,” said the senior centerman, who finished the night with two goals and three assists. “And to rebound the way we did against Manasquan and now to beat a good SJV team, who was in a Shore Conference final last year, it was a big win for us. We’re going to continue to build off it and continue to play like we did today.”
Garavente and Conor Deverin helped the Bulldogs get off to a quick start, as the pair each scored twice in the opening period.
St. John Vianney (2-1-0, 2-1-0) cut the deficit to 4-1 at 4:26 of the second when Pirelli Samuel found the back of the net, but Deverin was there to answer, putting home a hat-trick tally on a Rumson (2-1-0, 2-1-0) power play to send his team into the intermission with a 5-1 lead.
“It was big to jump out quick on SJV,” Deverin said. “We sort of killed their momentum in the first period and kind of stepped on the gas after that and just kept on going. … I think we played much better on the defensive end tonight, and our goalie stepped up big today.”
Rumson netminder Richard Maser was tested throughout the game, as the senior made 33 saves to secure the win.
That stout defensive effort generated more third-period offense, as Brendan Ban’s team-leading fourth goal of the year and Will Catalano’s second of the season sandwiched a pair of St. John Vianney markers by Max Allen and James O’Keefe (their second of the season), leading to the 7-3 result.
“This is a big win for us because SJV was ranked high in the preseason rankings and we were picked to finish near the bottom,” said Ban, who leads the Bulldogs in scoring with 11 points in three games. “So it was good to come out here and put a beating on a top team. It’s definitely a confidence-builder.”
Up next: St. John Vianney travels to St. Rose on Friday at 8:15 p.m., while Rumson is off until Tuesday when it hosts the Lancers at 8:15 p.m.