MIDDLETOWN — It was the breakout game Middletown North and it’s collective of senior leaders were waiting for.
With the majority High School North’s offensive production coming from their newly minted AC/DC line — the combination of Anthony Tavares, Chris Repmann and Daniel Quiles — which has registered 31 points through the club’sfirst six games, the Lions were waiting patiently for Justin Skelly, Kurt Kroeper and Brad Heuer to catch fire…and the top line trio did just that in a Friday evening meeting with non-divisional foe Manasquan.
The Lions (4-1-1) entered the second period trailing 2-0 to a Warriors (4-2-0) outfit that carried a three-game winning streak into the tilt, but saw their senior captains carve out a path to victory by combining four four goals and four assists over the final two frames.
“It felt good to really take the lead tonight and help our team come back, because we’re the seniors, we’re the guys who have been here and it’s our responsibility to come through for our team in situations like this,” said Kroeper, who put Middletown on the comeback track with the team’s first tally of the night at 3:59 of the second, before notching the eventual game-winning marker with 6:40 remaining in regulation.
“Getting that goal early in the second period, it settled things down and really set a tone for the rest of the game,” added Kroeper, who now has eight points and five goals for the year.
After Kroeper picked up the primary assist on Tavares’ third of the year to knot the contest at 2-2, Heuer put the Lions on top for good, when the winger stick-handled down the right boards, dragged the puck past a defender and into the slot, where he finished above the keepr’s glove on the backhand for his fourth of the season.
“It feels great to help bring the team back in a game like this,” said Heuer, who has eight points on the year. “The three of us, we were all in kind of a slump to start the season, but I think this game really helped us break out of the shell and get our rhythm back.”
Repmann closed out the his club’s second period scoring with 2:55 to play, as the sophomore drove down the left wing, using his long reach to curl around the Warriors defender, before tucking his team-leading sixth goal of the year past the outstretched boot of Manasquan’s Ryan O’Leary (who made 16 saves in the game).
The Lions potted their fifth unanswered marker 37 seconds into the third period, when Repmann slid a pass across the crease to Quiles, who jammed home his fourth of the year, before Kroeper poked home his second of the game to make it a 6-3 Lions advantage.
Just 70 seconds later Heuer ladled a pass across the slot for Skelly, who beat the keeper low to the blocker-side for his fifth of the season.
“We’ve definitely been pressing,” said Skelly, who has been splitting his time between the offensive end and defensive blue line for the Lions, but has still managed five goals and three assists in his senior campaign. “We were all in a slump, and getting a lot of help from the young guys, but we all feed off of each other tonight. We were getting pucks out of our zone, getting them deep into their zone and chasing them down. The offense flowed from there, and it’s what we have to do moving forward.”
The Lions will have a tough week coming up with St. John Vianney waiting on Dec. 19, ahead of a matchup with CBA on Friday evening. Both games are due to have a 5:45 p.m. puck drop.