VERONA, NJ - Last month Jarrod Keating joined a pretty exclusive club when he became just the third VHS hockey player to reach the 50 career goals.  As of this writing, he is just two points shy of reaching another milestone -- 100 points -- and was recently named league MVP for the Kelly Division earning him TAPinto Verona/Cedar Grove Hillbilly Athlete of the Week.

“This season has been really good.  It was a rough start because we lost one of our better players to injury,” Keating explained.  “But the team responded well and everybody stepped up. We worked through it which led to us having a streak of 11 games without losing.”

A four-year varsity starter and two-year team captain, Keating has been playing hockey most of his life, along with his twin brother Harrison Keating.  It is fitting that he ends his high school hockey career on a high note, helping his team to a 13-8-4 record overall and setting high hopes for the upcoming state tournament.  

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Keating is at the top of the stats charts with 27 goals and 16 assists this season -- scoring a career-high six goals (including his 50th) in a game against Bayonne last month -- a highlight of the season for him.

"That 50th goal was definitely a highlight for me personally, but it’s also been great to see the team work really hard and show what we can be,” Keating said.  “We’ve proven to be a top team in our division and we plan to make a run in the state playoffs.”

Keating said that one of the biggest strengths of the VGR hockey team has been its ability to come from behind to clinch the win and he thinks that “never give up” attitude will help them as they compete in the state tournament.

“Our goal is to finish strong.  State brackets come out Thursday, so no matter how many games are left, I want to see us just finish the season strong -- like we’ve played the whole time,” Keating said.  

With his high school hockey career coming to an end, Keating is happy to see it end on a high note.

“It’s upsetting to think that it’s over but I feel like this has been a good way to go out.  It’s been a good season. We’ve had a lot of fun -- me, my brother, Colin, Andrew. So I feel that even though it’s ending we went out the right way.”

TAPinto Verona/Cedar Grove  is an online newspaper serving the Townships of Verona and Cedar Grove. TAPinto Verona/Cedar Grove is accredited by the New Jersey Press Association, and is a locally owned news organization serving the community.

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