NUTLEY – After 13 games this season, first-year head coach Anthony Yelovich has guided his Nutley High School varsity ice hockey team to a record of 7-6-2.
And while the team currently has won more games than it has lost, the coach still feels that the Raiders haven’t quite lived up to their goals and expectations.
“I’d say we’ve been underachieving a little bit,” he said. “We were banged up and we were beat up for a while, but we’re healthy now and we’re playing much better.”
Proof of his team’s progress came with a tie against Chatham.
“Chatham was ranked fifth in the state so that’s definitely an impressive performance for us,” he said.
Looking ahead, the NHS coach said his team’s focus would be on the remainder of the season to make the postseason.
“We finish up with the last week of the regular season during the first week of February and so we need to be .500 percent or better at the deadline. I expect for us to be there,” said the coach, noting his team’s league playoffs were slated to take place during the second week of February.
To date, the coach said his Raiders were in either fourth or fifth place with Verona/Glen Ridge.
“This is high school hockey. Anyone can beat anyone. We need to show up every night,” said the coach, adding his team had one league game remaining against Montclair.
In addition, the coach said that his team had three non-league games to play prior to the postseason as well.
Christian McCue had a hat trick and added one assist and fellow senior Zach Vaughan had two goals and two assists to lead the Raiders to a 12-2 rout of Red Bank Regional on Jan. 20 at Richard J. Codey Arena in West Orange.
Sophomore Mark Frade had two goals and one assist; junior Gerard LaFuria had two goals; senior Danny Render had one goal and one assist; juniors Jimmy Daidone and Andrew Spitalnik each added one goal; and sophomore Cullen McCormack, sophomore Frank Mosca, senior Greg O’Connell, sophomore Ryan O’Mara and junior Dan Caputo each had one assist. The Raiders scored four goals in the first period and eight goals in the second.