WALL — Dylan Haar led Ocean Township in scoring a season ago with a breakout showing in his sophomore year that included 37 points on 21 goals and 16 assists, pacing a senior-laden Spartans club and providing the makings of a sturdy foundation for coach Dave Smith to build around in 2017-18.
Four games into the new year, Haar is off to a start that would shatter his previous career-bests, as the junior winger has put up 12 points on six goals and six helpers, including a three-goal game and four-point night on Thursday in a 7-1 decision over Class A Central rival Red Bank Regional.
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“I’m definitely impressed with myself a little bit here,” said Haar. “I’m not trying to brag at all, but it’s been a really nice start to the season. I feel like I’m playing really well right now with the guys around me, and I’m hoping I can keep it going in the future to help out my teammates, and help our team win games.”
After notching two goals and three helpers in an opening night game against Edison, and another three-point showing against South Brunswick the following evening, Haar found the back of the net three more times against the Bucs to register his third career hat trick, all three of which have come in the winger’s last 12 games (dating back to Jan. 19 of last year when notched his first three-goal game against Freehold Boro).
“It just felt great to come through for my team tonight,” said Haar, who now has 56 career points on 29 goals and 27 assists. “Our whole team was clicking tonight, and we’ve been playing well since opening night. Our passing has been crisp, we’ve been executing really well. We’ve been getting all of our guys into the games. It’s been going well, and I expect we’ll be able to continue that moving forward.”
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Admittedly, Haar — who was named an assistant captain for Ocean Township at the start of the year — wasn’t happy with he and his club’s effort on Dec. 6, when the Spartans were on the wrong end of a 9-0 decision against Manasquan.
However, Haar believes the way in which this group responded — with a lopsided victory of their own the following evening — is most important.
“I’m really happy with the way we bounced back, and I’m pretty impressed with the way we cam together after a bad loss,” Haar said. “It feels good, and makes me very confident in the group we have here. Obviously, we don’t want to have too many games where we’re bouncing back from a loss, but it’s great to know we can respond like this.”
Kenny Maxwell opened the scoring for Ocean Township at 6:22 of the opening period, before Haar added a pair of second period tallies, the second of which was assisted by Scott Sirianni.
Haar and Maxwell had the helpers on Patrick Brannen’s second of the year, before Haar picked up the hat trick and Maxwell notched his team-leading ninth goal of the season in the third period.
Scott Harrington was stellar in this divisional win, as the senior stopped 13 shots, and lost his shutout bid with 46 second remaining in regulation, when Jack Povey deflected home his first career goal off a Ralph Molinari shot.
Ocean Township is back at it on Dec. 14 when West Windsor-Plainsboro South comes to town for a 6:30 p.m. puck drop.
NOTE: Coverage of Maxwell’s debut and future coverage of Ocean Township is brought to you by the Ocean Township High School Hockey Club. For more information on head to www.oceanicehockey.com.