CLARK, NJ – The Arthur L. Johnson High School ice hockey team opened the 2019-20 season with a 5-0 shutout of West Orange on Nov. 30. Nick Galati scored two goals, including one on the power play, Adrian Skiba added two goals, Joe Nudo put in a goal and Richard Ledden added two assists. Johnson finished with a 45-13 advantage in shots on goal.
The Crusaders played their second game of the season against The Frisch School of Paramus on Dec. 4 at Warinanco Park in Roselle. Galati put in six goals and Johnson cruised to a 9-2 victory. The Crusaders scored three goals in the first period, two goals in the second period and four goals in the third. Ledden finished with two goals and Mike Midrano also scored. Skiba led the team in assists with two.
With the 2-0 start, Johnson head coach Bryan Klimchak has been satisfied with his team’s performance. “We’ve been doing a really good job balancing our lines,” he said. “We’ve been doing a great job working hard in practice. We have a lot of young guys playing and getting time early. That’s helping build competition in practice which is pushing the guys a little bit harder.”
Galati, a senior, has been a force on the offensive end early on. Last year as a junior, Galati finished with 31 goals and 41 assists. He is expected to have a big-time senior campaign.
“He’s our captain for the second year in a row,” Klimchak said. “Our team lives and dies by him right now. He’s doing everything on and off the ice that he needs to do. The other kids are starting to follow suit.”
Klimchak wants to see consistency out of his group this season.
“This year we want to stay competitive in our division throughout the entire season,” the coach said. “We want to stress consistency. We want to treat every game as its own.”
The Crusaders will now have over a week off as they play Dayton-Union-Brearley on Dec. 13.
Klimchak says the team will work on special teams as it has some time off before the next game. “We’re going to work on the penalty kill and the power play,” he said. “We’re going to start putting guys in specific roles and trying to see who can step up and do what we need to do.”
Johnson competes in the McMullen Division of the New Jersey Interscholastic Ice Hockey League against West Orange, Frisch, Bayonne, Dayton-Union-Brearley, Newark East Side and Kearny-Secaucus-North Arlington.