Newark, NJ – Monday Night, March 4th will go down as the most important day in Bosco Hockey History. Playing in their third straight NJSIAA Non-Public Finals, the Ironmen knew that this would be their toughest test of the season. With everything on the line and past defeats hanging over the program, an all too familiar foe was waiting for them. Meeting for the fourth time this season and having gotten the best of the Ironmen in the last two state championship games, 13 time champion Delbarton surely would have something to say in this contest.
But this night would belong to the 27-1 Ironmen. Don Bosco opened the scoring in the first period as Quinnipiac bound Senior Captain Liam McLinskey (30G, 45A) buried his first of two on the night. Junior Will Fortescue (3G, 16A) made a fantastic rush up the ice, hitting D man Damien Carfagna (6G, 31A) in the slot. Carfagna’s original shot was saved but Junior Robbie Greenleaf (4G,5A) swiped at the rebound, sending it to Sophomore Zach Hammond (13G, 7A) who slid it to McLinksey, giving the Ironmen a 1-0 lead heading into the first intermission.
Coach Greg Toskos, appearing in his fifth state final, first as a player in 1994 and now his fourth as head coach, knew the Green Wave wouldn’t back down, “We knew coming out of the first period that they weren’t just gonna lay down and were going to come at us…they’re the defending champs for a reason.” As the teams flipped ends, it was Delbarton who knotted the game at one apiece, scoring on a 2 on 1 chance. “Credit them for coming right back and tying the game in the second, but this team has faced adversity in big games all season and we know if we stick to our game, our chances will come,” said Toskos.
The Ironmen didn’t have to wait too long to regain the lead. Nine seconds later, Liam McLinskey lit the lamp again. Junior Forward Hunter McGee (11G, 25A) won the center ice draw clean to Defenseman Damien Carfagna. Carfagna took two strides and found McLinskey streaking down the right side who unloaded a laser, low stick side to put the Ironmen back on top 2-1.
Again, Bosco knew the Green Wave would not go quietly with their season was on the line. But the stout Bosco defense led by Senior Goalie Max Schwarz (1.37 GA, 93.5%) and Captain TJ Schweighardt (17G, 32A), kept the Green Wave off the scoresheet, despite some tense moments in the final minutes.
With 1:50 to play, Delbarton took its timeout and opted for an extra skater, pulling their goalie. After a frantic several seconds, which saw the Ironmen laying out to block shots, pinning pucks up against the wall and hitting the post on the empty net from just inside their own blue line. Senior Captain, Tyler Sedlak (40G, 33A), Don Bosco’s seocnd all-time leading scorer, picked up a loose puck with just under 30 seconds to play at his own blue line, stick handled around a Delbarton defender and walked in all alone, burying his final goal as an Ironman and the celebration was on.
After 54 years of hockey at Don Bosco, the 2018-2019 Ironmen will live on in infamy as the greatest team to ever wear the maroon and white sweaters. A remarkable season, finishing on a 24 game win streak, capturing their 8th straight Bergen County Championship, second ever Gordon Cup and the sweetest of them all, the first ever NJSIAA State Championship.