WEST ORANGE, NJ - The West Orange High School Ice Hockey Team ended its season 6-16-2 and missed the state playoffs, but they managed to make an impact on the state hockey landscape with two players in the Top 10.
The dynamic duo of co-captains Jonathan Miller and Alec Hill made West Orange proud by reaching New Jersey's state record charts. Miller is ranked fourth in the state for scoring leaders, behind Grant Jozefek of Mendham, Brett Conrads of Newton, and Charlie Mule of Toms River East. Miller recorded a team high of 66 total points, which includes 30 goals and 36 assists. Not too far behind is the Mountaineer’s leading scorer, Hill, who is ranked the eighth leading scorer in the state with 38 goals and 24 assists for a season total of 62 points.
The Mountaineers will lose eight seniors following this season, including Miller and Hill. Senior Elijah Roberts completed the season with 26 points; and Chris Hanley (a member of the West Orange Alternative Press High School TAP Team) finished close behind with 23 points. West Orange will also lose Max Gomes, Dan Duarte, Allan Morancie, and Jordan Williams.
Hill explains his sadness about ending his high school hockey career. “I’m going to miss the moments like the last Millburn game. They tied that game with three seconds left. It felt like a loss, but when you look at it again it really was something beautiful. You could see how passionate we all were, how hard everyone had tried and how much we genuinely care about each other. That’s something I don’t think I’ll ever experience again.”
First year Coach Eddie Scafidi explains, “Losing the seniors will impact our scoring, as we are losing 97% of our scoring (players). With losing with the eight seniors, it opens the door for some new players to get significant playing time, something they didn’t have this year.”
The 2014-2015 will be a rebuilding year for the Mountaineers.Coach Scafidi states that he would like to compete in every league game and be above 500 in the non-league games. Scafidi says of most promising player Nick Aloi, “Aloi showed great improvement from the beginning of this season to the end. He is ready to make the next step and be an elite player.”
Goalie Mark Starbinski started all but one of the 25 games this season as a freshman and is expected to improve in his sophomore season.
Rising senior forward Tyler Viezel says, “It’s definitely going to be very different next year without our two leading scorers, Alec and Jon, but I feel confident that some of the younger guys will step up and have a strong influence on the team.” He explains, “We have to work in the off-season and do all that we can to prepare for the next year. Our overall speed on the ice needs to get faster, and we need to generate more offense.”
Miller says, “I think what I’m going to miss most is just playing hockey for my school. Though there were times of struggle for this team, I just love the game of hockey and would struggle again to play with my friends and school mates.”