The Passaic Valley/Cedar Grove ice hockey team has struggled in the early going, but coach Mike Sheehan likes his team’s work ethic.
The Hornets took a 2-1-1 record into a game with Westfield on Monday. On Friday, the Hornets take on Paramus/Lyndhurst/Hackensack, at 6 p.m. and Sunday the team plays Northern Highlands at 6 p.m. Games with Wayne Hills (Dec. 22) and Clifton (Dec. 23) precede the Christmas holiday.
Passaic Valley’s most recent win came Dec. 10, with a 7-5 victory over Tenafly. It was PV’s first win since opening night, Nov. 25.
Leading the way for the Hornets was Alex LoPresti, who scored four goals, and Dan Lapinski, Nick LoPresti and Matt Nelson scored once each. Assists went to Nelson, Shane McGuire, Joe Maldonado, Joe Kubu, Ryan Humes and Vincent DiNardo. Passaic Valley goaltender Noah Vazquez had 18 saves.
Among Alex LoPresti’s goals was the game-winner, with 3:02 left, on a penalty shot.
Sheehan noted that injuries have been a key in the early going.
“So far we’ve been very inconsistent, not just from game to game, but period to period, and even shift to shift,” said Sheehan. “That’s something that we need to improve, as we head into an important part of the schedule. We’ve been battling some injuries too, and that hasn’t helped, but overall we need to be a little better with and especially without control of the puck. Our defensive game has not been as strong as it needs to be, since the first two periods of the season opener.”
Sheehan has also been pleased with a few other players.
“Matt Nelson has had a good start to the season, and chipped in with a goal and an assist, against Tenafly,” said Sheehan. “Overall, freshmen like Owen Pisarczyk and Matthew O’Donnell have fit it nicely, but I’d like to see more consistency from some of our veteran guys.”
With some big games coming up, PV/Cedar Grove hopes to make the small adjustments the coach has been emphasizing.
“One of the positives is that we’re working hard for the most part,” said Sheehan. “But, eliminating mistakes will be a big key.”
As the Passaic Valley boys basketball team prepares for its season opener at Lakeland on Friday, coach Jim Holsworth has gotten a good effort from some of his younger players.
A pair of sophomores, forward Justin Paguirigan and guard Brandon Timothy, have looked good in the team’s scrimmages.
“They’re coming around,” said Holsworth of the duo. “Justin has been a big surprise and gives us a strong presence on the boards. We’re a young team, experience-wise, and to see Justin and Brandon step up and play well is encouraging.”
Passaic Valley’s home opener is Dec. 19, when the team hosts Wayne Hills at 7 p.m. On Dec. 21, the Hornets will host Paramus Catholic, also at 7 p.m.
“It will be a work in process,” said Holsworth as the season begins. “We had a good scrimmage last week, against North 13th Street Tech (in Newark). We fell behind early (17-2), but ended up playing really well. We were hampered early by their man-to-man pressure, but settled down and responded with some toughness. That’s the kind of basketball we’ll need to play.”
The Hornets were set to end their preseason with a scrimmage at Bogota, Holsworth’s alma mater, on Dec. 12.
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