St. John Vianney’s Mike Gelatt is a player of few words, especially when discussing his own accolades and achievements. It’s a fact understood by Lancers first-year head coach Mick Messemer, who described the Shore Conference’s leading goal scorer as “shy.”
Though timid he may be, Gelatt’s sanctuary is the ice rink, and this dynamic winger’s ability to put pucks past local goaltenders has spoken volumes, even if he isn’t willing.
“He’s an incredibly quiet kid,” Messemer said. “He’s not a vocal guy in the locker room, he just goes out and plays, and does so at a very high level…He’s basically a coach’s dream.”
Gelatt entered the Lancer’s January 6 Class A Central meeting with St. Rose needing four points to reach 100 for his career, and proceeded to do what he’s done best this season, scoring four goals to extend his conference-leading count to 26 through 11 games played.
“It’s nice to reach 100 career points, but we’re focused on bigger things,” Gelatt said following his milestone achievement.
Messemer was able to sum up just what St. John Vianney’s big picture goals are, stating “Every team you play for or coach, you want to bring home three pieces of hardware. For us it started with the Shore Holiday Tournament (which the Lancers won), and after that is the Shore Conference and State tournaments…You take it one at a time.”
Messemer expressed confidence in his program to challenge for both tournament titles, and has every reason to be – as the Lancers lead the league in wins with an 11-1-0 record – especially with Gelatt and linemate Matt Kidney clicking in the offensive zone.
According to Gelatt, the pair’s hockey ties predate their four-year stint in the black and gold of St. John Vianney, and can be traced back to their days at the McMahon Park roller rink in Middletown, where the duo were eight-year old teammates in the Middletown Youth Athletic Association’s (MYAA) league.
“I’ve known Matt for so long, he’s my best friend, and we’ve played together forever,” Gelatt said. “At this point we’re very familiar and comfortable with each other on the ice. And it’s helped a lot this season.”
With Gelatt and Kidney spending the majority of their ice time on the Lancers’ first line, the latter has risen to the top of the Shore Conference and state leader board in points with 48 (18 goals, 30 assists), while the former sits fourth in scoring with 39 points (26 goals, 13 assists).
“Mike is the strongest player on the puck I’ve seen in the area,” Messemer said. “He kind of reminds me of Eric Lindros when he gets a full head of steam going towards the net. Not many players around here can take the puck off his stick.”
“Mike and Matt together, they just know where to find each other on the ice,” Messemer added. “It’s truly been something special to watch them this year.”
In the wake of his most recent successes at the high school and club level (New Jersey Junior Titans) Gelatt was provided a tender offer on January 11 by the Soo Eagles of the North American Hockey League (NAHL), the same organization that tapped former Wall Township star and current University of Massachusetts-Lowell – ranked sixth in the nation – defenseman Tom Panico.
The Lancers – ranked second in the APP Top 10 Poll – currently sit tied atop the Class A Central division with Red Bank Catholic – ranked third – after defeating the Caseys at the Red Bank Armory back on December 17.
Both teams will meet again on January 27 for the second of two regularly scheduled games, but not before St. John Vianney hosts Point Boro – the only team to beat the Lancers this season – on January 13 at Jersey Shore Arena.