Glen Rock hockey team wins first state playoff game, 3-0

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Glen Rock forward Peter Cassidy (7) goes in to hug goaltender Ryan McAuley after the Panthers’ 3-0 state playoff victory over Jackson Memorial Friday at the Ice House in Hackensack. Photo by Simon Toffel.

All the upsets in the first two rounds of the state playoffs definitely caught the attention of the Glen Rock hockey team and Panthers coach Anthony Yelovich made sure to let his team know they had better be careful not to look past their second round opponent, Jackson Memorial, on Friday.

“’Obviously, you guys see what’s going on in the state – we can’t take anyone for granted,’’’ Yelovich said of his message to his team before the game. “That was what we were preaching all week. Before the upsets happened, we were preparing, and we understand we can’t take anybody for granted, no matter what the seeds are. It’s win or lose; in or out. There’s no room for errors.’’

Glen Rock, the No. 1 seed in the Public B bracket, made no errors, taking care of business with a 3-0 victory over No. 16 Jackson Memorial Friday at the Ice House in Hackensack, advancing to the quarterfinals of the tournament. They will play next on Monday at 4:15 p.m. at the Ice House against the No. 8 seed, Summit.

Playing in front of a raucous student section, Glen Rock (19-3-4) dominated possession in the opening period, spending the vast majority of the period in the offensive zone. All the possession led to a heavy advantage in shots on goal, unofficially 15-3 for Glen Rock. But the Panthers would not get on the scoreboard until 6:28 of the second period, when Peter Cassidy deflected in a shot by Matt Maselli for his 19th goal of the season to make it 1-0.

The Panthers were unable to build on that lead before the period ended, but they kept pushing in the third and eventually were able to wear Jackson Memorial (16-6-1) down. Eddie Corvelli tapped in a pass from Jake Kinney in a four-on-four situation to make it 2-0 at 5:11 of the period and Maselli completed the scoring late in the period to put the game away.

Unofficially, Glen Rock outshot the visitors, 38-15, and goaltender Ryan McAuley earned his fourth shutout of the season, maintaining his concentration despite the lack of consistent work and making the saves when he had to.

“They’re a pretty good team,’’ Yelovich insisted of Jackson Memorial. “I don’t think they’re a 16 seed at all. They won the Shore Conference; that’s really tough to do. They’re a good squad.’’

With the No. 2 seed, Northern Highlands, having been eliminated with a second-round loss to Mahwah, the Panthers remain the favorite to win the state title. There remains a long way to go, however. Summit has not allowed a goal in its two tournament games, beating No. 25 seed Hopewell Valley 7-0 in the first round, and outlasting No. 9 Madison 2-0 in the second.

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