WALL — In a Tuesday night meeting between Middletown North and St. John Vianney that featured some of the Shore Conferences’ most recognizable stars…a new one emerged.
High School North winger Chris Repmann entered this divisional tilt as the Lions (5-1-1, 3-1-0) leading scorer, but it was a three-point evening in a 3-1 upset of the Lancers (6-1-0, 3-1-0) that provided the proper platform for the sophomore’s official coming out party.
“He’s come out on fire, on a mission to start the season off in a big way,” Lions coach Matt Clemente said. “But I just told him in the locker room, it’s not a great game just because of the three points…He was the best player on the ice in all three zones tonight.”
Repmann picked up an assist on the Lions first goal of the game, which came at 9:05 of the second period, after the sophomore wired a wrist shot from the slot that was redirected toward the net by senior Kurt Kroeper. St. John Vianney netminder Jeremy Connor — who stopped an 45 high-pressure shots in the game — booted the deflection attempt wide of the crease, but the rebound was cleaned up by Anthony Tavares for the junior’s fourth goal of the season and a 1-0 Middletown advantage.
The Lions carried that one-goal lead into the third period, but the Lancers would answer, as John Gelatt registered his sixth marker of the season on a slap shot from the point, knotting the contest at 1-1 with just under five minutes remaining in regulation.
However, the Lions were there to snatch back the momentum on their very next shift, as the senior trio of Kroeper, Brad Heuer and Justin Skelly worked the puck deep, sustained the zone and peppered Connor with five shots, before giving way to Repmann and the Lions AC/DC line — Anthony Tavares, Chris Repmann and Dan Quiles — which put High School North back on top as Tavares dumped the puck in, chased it down, and worked it along the right side boards to Quiles. The junior then ladled a rolling pass into the slot to Repmann who hammered a slap shot to the glove-side twine for a 2-1 lead and his club-best eighth goal of the year.
The tally would go on the scoresheet as the eventual game-winner against a Lancers club that recently announced its presence as a parochial state power, with a victory over Gordon Conference contender St. Augustine, a triumph that resonated with Repmann leading into this matchup.
“Coming into this one I was a little worried, a little nervous, because I had seen SJV play before and knew how good a team they were,” said Repmann, who added an empty net tally to complete the 3-1 Lions win. “But I was ecstatic when I scored that goal to make it 2-1. I’m just super happy with the way I played today, and the way we came together as a team. This was an incredible team win.”
The Lions truly received contributions from up and down the lineup, including a smothering defensive display by a unit featuring John Hallard, Kyle Goworek — who Clemente believes delivered the best performance of his varsity career — RyanCrane, freshman John Miranda and the two-way efforts of Skelly, and a stellar showing between the pipes by senior keeper Jake Frontera…who received late notice that he’d be getting the start.
“This morning Matty [Corella] let me know he wasn’t going to school because of the flu, it was due to be his start tonight, but Jake really grabbed the bull by the horns,” Clemente said. “He made more than 40 saves tonight, and in the first two periods who made four or five ridiculous, circus-type saves that I couldn’t believe didn’t end up in the back of the net. And that’s just a testament to his resilience and his mental attitude.”
Frontera made 44 total stops in the win, including 29 over the first two periods, and 15 of 16 in the final frame.
“In a way I was prepared to make to the start under these circumstances, because I’ve been through situations like this in the past,” Frontera said. “I knew I was going to have to rise to the occasion against a team like Vianney, because I know [Corella] would have done excellent, so I knew I had to match what he would have done. And I can’t wait to see what he can do next time out.”
Though Clemente said an early win over St. John Vianney is undeniably a signature victory, it’s not one that he and Lions can let define their season if they hope to make a fourth consecutive trop to the state semifinals…and beyond.
Middletown North will have another tough test on Friday when CBA comes to town at 5:40 p.m.