Morristown High hockey champs: ‘We’re brothers’

Morristown High hockey team shares its trophy with fans at the Prudential Center. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Morristown High hockey team shares its trophy with fans at the Prudential Center. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
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Video: Morristown wins its second state hockey title

By Kevin Coughlin

Morristown hockey Coach Bobby Jones insisted before Monday’s Public A title game against Randolph that his top-seeded powerhouse  was the underdog.

Not anymore.  The Colonials skated off the Prudential Center ice in Newark with a 2-0 victory and their second trophy in three seasons.

Morristown High hockey team shares its trophy with fans at the Prudential Center. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Morristown High hockey team shares its trophy with fans at the Prudential Center. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

“This puts us on the map for Morristown High School. Everyone can win one. But when you win multiple state championships, it’s not like you’re lucky anymore. It’s a solid program right now,” said Jones, who led the Colonials to a 24-3-1 record in his eighth season behind the bench.

He said getting the first goal was the key on Monday, in a clean contest with only a couple of penalties.

Morristown's Jacob DeFares scores games winner in 2016 title game. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
‘I THREW IT AT THE NET AND IT WENT IN.’ Morristown’s Jacob DeFares scores games winner in 2016 title game. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

Jakob DeFares, Morristown’s top scorer, took a pass along the boards from Christian Rodriguez and flipped the puck over the shoulder of Rams’ goalie Luc Swedlund at 9:08 of the first period.

The senior’s 24th goal of the season was all the Colonials needed. They kept Randolph off-balance for the rest of the night.

“Christian just chipped it out to me, it came down, I threw it on net and it went in,” said DeFares. “It was a huge relief to get that first goal. It was good for our momentum. Throughout the game we had them on their heels.”

Teddy Dolan added an insurance tally in the third period, on a deft pass from behind the net by Drew Shandlay.

It was Morristown’s third victory this year against arch-rival Randolph, winner of eight state titles since 2003.  The Colonials earned their showdown by beating Westfield (4-1), Morris Knolls (4-1) and Ridge (3-1) in the playoffs.  The Rams steamrollered Manalapan, Southern and Montclair en route to the Prudential Center.

Goalie Evan Szary holds off a Randolph onslaught in the waning seconds. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Goalie Evan Szary holds off a Randolph onslaught in the waning seconds. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

Although Morristown will lose nine seniors to graduation, the program should remain strong between the pipes. Jones’ star of the game, goalie Evan Szary, is only a sophomore.

“He played lights-out… he was absolutely solid for us tonight,” the coach said.

Szary credited his defense for a relatively easy evening. He praised senior co-captain Brad Greik for shutting down Rams’ top gun Dan Janson, a 26-goal scorer this season.

Although Szary faced 28 shots — 10 more than his Randolph counterpart — the Rams’ only real sustained attack came in the last two minutes, when they pulled their goalie for an extra skater. But a late Randolph penalty helped the Morristown cause.

Coach Bobby Jones gives the Colonials some last-minute pointers before the opening faceoff. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Coach Bobby Jones, center, gives the Colonials some last-minute pointers before the opening faceoff. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

Szary said it took a few moments early on to adjust to the bright lights and soft ice of the Rock, home to the New Jersey Devils of the NHL.

“I was kind of able to calm down from there,” he said. At last, he expects an end to the needling from brothers Cam and Jack, stars of the 2014 champs.

“Now I’m not getting anything from them about their rings!” Evan Szary said with a huge grin.

'THEY'RE THE BEST FANS IN THE STATE,' Jakob DeFares said of the MHS cheering section. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
‘THE BEST FANS IN THE STATE,’ Colonials hockey hero Jakob DeFares said of the MHS cheering section. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

DeFares and Dolan had additional scoring chances, but Swedlund made nice stops on their rushes.

The victory was especially sweet for Dolan; as a sophomore in 2014 he rode the bench for that clincher.

FINAL SECONDS TELL THE STORY: Morristown 2, Randolph 0. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
FINAL SECONDS TELL THE STORY: Morristown 2, Randolph 0. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

“It feels unreal; it hasn’t really hit me yet, to be honest,” he said after Monday’s win.

Dolan started skating at age 4.

“It’s been a long journey. To end like this is amazing,” he said, noting that the Colonials are a close bunch, in and out of rinks. “We’re brothers, cliché as that sounds.”

MORE MHS HOCKEY COVERAGE

Teddy Dolan scores from the slot to give MHS a 2-0 lead that would stick. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Teddy Dolan scores from the slot to give MHS a 2-0 lead that would stick. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

Jones said that’s the common DNA between his two championship teams: Clutch goaltending, good defense, and “hard-working guys, that just battled for each other.

“The ongoing theme is family,” the coach said. “These guys are like family to me, family to each other, and I think when you’ve got family in the locker room, you’re going to work a lot harder for each other.”

Morristown 2016 champs pose for the paparazzi. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Morristown 2016 champs pose for the paparazzi. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
'WE'RE NO 1!' MHS hockey team wins second title in thee years. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
‘WE’RE NO 1!’ MHS hockey team wins second title in thee years. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Teddy Dolan celebrates after scoring. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Teddy Dolan celebrates after scoring en route to championship. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Morristown's Evan Szary stopped all 28 Randolph shots. Photo by Kevin Coughlin, march 7, 2016
Morristown’s Evan Szary stopped all 28 Randolph shots. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Randolph crashes the Morristown net, to no avail. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Randolph crashes the Morristown net, to no avail. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Jakob DeFares gets congrats from the bench after opening the scoring. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Jakob DeFares gets congrats from the bench after opening the scoring. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
CELEBRATE! Jakob DeFares and Evan Szary at closing buzzer. Photo by Kevin Coughlin, march 7, 2016
CELEBRATE! Jakob DeFares and Evan Szary at closing buzzer. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
JUMPING FOR JOY: Jakob DeFares and goalie Evan Szary. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
JUMPING FOR JOY: Jakob DeFares and goalie Evan Szary. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
THE BRAIN TRUST: MHS Coach Bobby Jones, second from left, and his coaching team. Photo by Kevin Coughlin, mach 7, 2016
THE BRAIN TRUST: MHS Coach Bobby Jones, second from left, and his coaching team. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
FAN CLUB: Colonials greet the faithful after winning 2016 title. Photo by Kevin Coughlin, march 7, 2016
FAN CLUB: Colonials greet the faithful after winning 2016 title. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
'LET US IN!' 'LET US OUT!' Glass separates champs and fans at the Rock. Photo by Kevin Coughlin, march 7, 2016
‘LET US IN!’ ‘LET US OUT!’ Glass separates champs and fans at the Rock. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Happy MHS fans start clearing out. Photo by Kevin Coughlin, march 7, 2016
Happy MHS fans start clearing out. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
THIS NEVER GETS OLD. Photo by Kevin Coughlin, march 7, 2016
THIS NEVER GETS OLD. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
SAY 'FREEZE!'  Morristown ice warriors pose for championship photo. Photo by Kevin Coughlin, march 7, 2016
SAY ‘FREEZE!’ Morristown ice warriors pose for championship photo. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
S OPEN THIS TIME, FELLAS!' Photo by Kevin Coughlin, march 7, 2016
‘EYES OPEN THIS TIME, FELLAS!’ Photo by Kevin Coughlin

 

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