Kinnelon showing signs of growth on ice
Trailing Don Bosco by one point in the Gatorade Division of the Ice Vault Holiday Classic meant Kinnelon did not control its own destiny entering a game with Wayne Valley Friday night.
If the Colts wanted any chance at the title, it had to play rival Wayne Valley tough and Jeff Myhren’s boys did just that, taking a hard-fought 3-1 win in Wayne.
“We were really excited for this tournament and this game,” said Myhren. “Last year we tied (Wayne Valley) so we knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but I thought we played really well."
Bruce Anderson would open the scoring after his line was rewarded for its hard work cycling the puck and continuing to pressure Wayne Valley goalie Joe Lamanna. Kinnelon’s top line of Anderson, fellow junior Brian Gnad and sophomore Hunter Ledwidth scored all three Colt goals in the win.
“I started playing on his line and I started scoring goals,” Anderson said of moving to the top unit. “It’s a lot of fun to play with Brian.”
With the issue still a doubt, Gnad took a wired cross-ice pass from Hunter Ledwidth on the power play and picked the top right corner with near-perfection to make the score 2-0 early in the third.
“He is our top forward,” coach Myhren said of Gnad. “He always brings it, he’s on all of our units on special teams, he’s our big producer. He’s great along the boards and really sets things up for us offensively.”
“Hunter gave me a great pass that gave me the time to find the top corner,” said Gnad about the feed that led to the game winner. “Hunter knows where I am I know where he is.”
Standing no more than five-feet-four on skates, Hunter Ledwith is something of an odd pairing with the two giants Anderson and Gnad who both stand well over six feet tall. Each would be quick to tell you that they love playing with the talented underclassman.
“That kid is awesome,” Anderson said of Ledwidth. “He’s a really mature player and we really trust him out there.”
“He’s all heart,” added Myhren. “He works hard every day, that’s a kid you never have to question, he goes 110-percent every day. There is literally no fear in that kid.”
Bosco would eventually take the tournament title with a dominating 4-0 victory over Morris Knolls in the late game, but for Kinnelon the win was reason to be optimistic for the rest of the year.
“Coming off three wins is great, we go into the toughest part of our schedule now with a lot of confidence,” said Myhren. “We have knolls Randolph Mendham and Morristown-Beard so this will really help us.”
Kinnelon’s nine wins and 39 goals are both tops in the Mennen Division and perhaps reason to think the gap with Randolph may be closing. They are a young bunch of Colts, but a confident group that feels like it's ready to compete for the school’s first Mennen Division championship and State B title.
“The sky’s the limit. We want to win the Mennen Cup. We want to win states. Whatever we can win we want to win it,” said Anderson.
“We have never won a Mennen Cup in our history,” added Gnad. “I feel like this year is a good year to get it.”
Contact John Quirk at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter: @QuirkMedia