NEWARK, NJ -- On the strength four Brendan Calello goals including a hat trick in the first period, Don Bosco Prep imposed its will on a much smaller Portledge squad and came out on top 10-5 Wednesday at the Prudential Center.
“He was flying out there and had the hot touch around the net,” head coach Greg Toskos said of the senior's huge day.
The Ironmen would jump out to an early 1-0 as Cole Maier found Justin McKenzie with a sweet pass from behind the net just 1:56 in and the senior tucked it home. Calello would get the first of his four tallies just three minutes later and Bosco’s offense was cranking.
“We were getting it deep and playing really fast from the start,” Calello said of the effort of the top line. “I want to be an offensive leader in my senior year and so far we are playing really well.”
By continuing to get the puck deep and working it out of the corners, Bosco wore down the smaller more inexperienced Portledge team en route to its eighth straight win of the season.
“They play a very disciplined system, they get it deep and their forwards go to work, you have to give them a ton of credit” Portledge head coach John Sando said of the Ironmen.
Portledge would get on the board late in the first after a great individual effort by freshman Brandon Fortunato to set up teammate Selbern Narby for a goal that would cut the score to 4-1.
“He’s a very special player, he’s very talented” Sando said of the playmaking freshman. “He’s got some of the best on-ice vision I have ever seen.
Fortunato was very impressive despite being one of the smallest players on the rink against a very physical Don Bosco team. He set up two of the three Portledge goals but the Ironmen were the better team from the get-go, taking a 17-7 shot advantage into the first intermission.
It took just 1:25 for the Ironmen to strike in the second as Justin McKenzie finished Cole Maier’s chance and five minutes later goals by Calello, Lucas Luppino and Hunter Galasco made the score 8-1 Bosco.
Coach Toskos’ squad would take a 9-2 lead into the final frame, but Portledge wasn’t about to leave New Jersey without a fight. The Panthers grabbed the first two goals in the third and just 1:33 in it looked like a game again at 9-4. Toskos would take a timeout to settle his team and after Calello’s fourth goal the Bosco defense would tighten to preserve a win.
“Nothing. I didn’t say a word,” remarked Toskos about his message to his team during the time out. “They could figure it out themselves, they just didn’t come out ready.”
“Our captains took control and we talked about how we needed to pick it up and thankfully we were able to do that and get a good win,” said Calello
It was a hard-fought but very clean game, with few whistles and zero penalties and while no league points were on the line, both coaches agreed it was a great litmus test early on in a long season.
“It’s a great opportunity for us to come out here and play teams like a Bosco, a St. Peter’s or Delbarton, any time we can schedule a game with those guys we’re happy to do it,” said Sando.
“It’s a great day of hockey and a great summit between Long Island and New Jersey and I thought our guys really enjoyed it,” echoed Toskos.
Calello’s 4 goals give him 13 through 8 games this season but the senior was already looking forward to a Friday night showdown against rival Bergen Catholic. Stats are on the back burner and it’s all about getting a win against the Crusaders.
“That’s going to be insane, our biggest rival on a Friday night, should be a ton of fun,” Calello said with a smile.
Coach Toskos wouldn’t give a prediction on the game but simply said, “When we play hard and smart we’re very tough to play against.”