CHATHAM, NJ - Christopher John Albanese can recall the day he became a goalie. It was about 10 years ago and his twin brother, A.J., had volunteered to play the position for his club team.
“My brother was supposed to be the goalie and when we got there he said he didn’t want to do it,” C.J. Albanese said. “I was kind of lazy and I figured that I wouldn’t have to skate as much if I played goalie. I didn’t realize that I’d be playing goalie from that point on.”
Albanese has been playing the position so well for Chatham High that he now owns practically every single-season record. His eight shutouts this past season broke the record of six set by Peter Lockhart in 1979.
Albanese, along with teammate Robert Graziano, were recently named to The Star-Ledger’s All-Public third team. Also gaining recognition this winter was Chatham swimmer Regan Kology, who was named to the second team in the 500-meter event. Kology concluded her brilliant career by leading Chatham to a fourth straight state championship.
“Robert was definitely a big part of our defense and a guy I always trusted when he was on the ice,” Albanese said of Graziano. “There were times he double-shifted. He’s going to be missed next season.”
Albanese came up big in the 2012-2013 state tournament when Chatham won the Group 2 state title. In his junior campaign of 2013-2014, Chatham reached the state semifinals and compiled an 18-4-4 mark.
“The entire team plays with a lot of confidence knowing that C.J. is back there to stop the puck,” Chatham coach Frank Gilberti said. “We have a great team in front of a great goalie. He’s the only guy I never get upset with. He’s a big reason we won the state title last year and had an 18-4-4 record this season.”
Among the other records Albanese now holds, is shutout periods in a season (45), save percentage (93.6), goals-against average (1.34). He was named the team MVP for the second straight year.
“Records are made to be broken and I’m sure someone will break mine,” Albanese said. “People think I’m crazy because I like getting pucks fired at me. I’ve been skating since I was four and playing goalie has become my passion. I laugh when there is a penalty shot. I think it’s fun because it’s my chance to go one-on-one with someone.”