VERONA/GLEN RIDGE – As the head hockey coach at Verona/Glen Ridge, the top thrill for Ken Lilien came in February of 2016 when the team captured the McInnis Cup in the New Jersey Interscholastic Hockey League.
This winter proved to be another very satisfying season for the coach. The young team finished with a respectable 14-9-4 record and was one of the top clubs in the Kelly Division of the NJIHL.
“We overachieved,” said Lilien, who at one time was involved in the sport of boxing. “We’ll lose a few key players due to graduation, but we’ll be tough again next winter and could challenge for a Cup.”
The leaders of the team this winter were the Keating brothers, Jarrod and Harrison. The seniors, who are fraternal twins, set the pace in every game. Jarrod, a dangerous forward, led the team with 29 goals and 16 assists for 45 points. Harrison, a smooth defenseman, had two goals and 12 assists.
“Jarrod was effective the entire length of the ice,” said Lilien. “Harrison impressed me with his physical play on the ice. He could really hit people.”
It was a team effort because seven players scored in double figures. The defense was led by Harrison Keating, freshman Zach Gold from Glen Ridge, and junior goalie Chris Kostas from Glen Ridge.
Gold had nine goals and 10 assists, while Kostas came up with the save percentage of around .900. He was clutch between the pipes when it counted.
“Chris was very consistent,” said Lilien, who has been the head coach for six years. “You want to see that from your goalie.”
Other top players included two fine forwards from Glen Ridge, Aidan Brennan and Jeff Egan, both juniors. Brennan had nine goals and four assists, while Egan had nine goals and seven assists. “Aidan was a top two-way player,” said the coach. “Jeff was a kid who had a real nose for the net.”
ICE CHIPS – Millburn, coached by former Seton Hall Prep star Brandon Doria, won the Kelly Cup for the second straight year…. The top player in Verona /Glen Ridge school history was forward Chris Bellino, who had 315 career points, including 203 goals.
Photos courtesy of Michael Discafani