NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ Senior attacker James Burke scored a seasonhigh five goals and tallied two assists as New Providence throttled conference rival Oratory 13-1 on Saturday morning at Lieder Field.
Coming off gut-wrenching losses against Somerville in triple-overtime and Scotch Plains-Fanwood, the Pioneers were able to bounce back the past two games with a pair of convincing victories.
“After that Somerville loss in triple-overtime, we started to listen to our own press clippings,” New Providence head coach Vinny Carangelo said. “They were the number four team in The Star-Ledger at the time and we thought we could play with anybody after that. We just weren’t ready for Scotch Plains even though we should’ve been.”
Burke and the Pioneers wasted no time getting on the scoreboard, recording the game's first goal just over one minute in to give the home squad an early advantage, one they would not look back on.
Soon thereafter, Jonathan Ebert ripped one of his three goals past Ram net minder Matt Lanigan to give New Providence a 2-0 advantage.
“Today we played well as a team and every goal we had was assisted,” Burke said on his team’s offensive outburst. “Every goal I had was the product of one or more of my teammates setting me up and making that play possible.”
With seconds remaining in the first quarter, New Providence sophomore goalie Garrett Pope made a stellar save of an Oratory shot, and instead of holding the ball and waiting for the period to expire, he rifled a pass downfield and off one hop, it was scooped up by Ebert and he buried it in the back of the net to give the Pioneers a 6-0 lead.
The dominance resumed in the second quarter, as New Providence picked up three more goals to expand their halftime lead to nine, with three goals a piece scored by the dynamic attackers in Burke, Jack Harvey, and Ebert.
“They (Ebert, Harvey, and Burke) made it look a little easy, but that’s a good team,” said Carangelo of his stars offensive prowess. “We were there mentally and it was exciting to see, but we have to see that all of the time.”
The third period was more of the same for New Providence, as Ebert picked up his fourth goal and senior Mike Wolak scored his second goal of the season and Pope’s dominance in net carried into the second half and the offense continued to click.
Pope finished with eight saves on nine shot attempts, giving him his ninth win of the season.
“For the past two games we haven’t been selfish and we have made the extra pass when we can,” Burke said. “It’s made us a much more effective offense.”
Oratory would finally get on the board with a few minutes remaining as Andrew Croonquist scored the lone goal for the Rams on a rough day for the road team.
With the win, the Pioneers improve their record to an impressive 9-2 mark thus far, and they will look to collect their 10th triumph of season when they take on Arthur L. Johnson High School on Monday at Lieder Field.