Varsity Hockey Midseason Review


Christian Agathis, Sports Editor

Delbarton hockey is known for its ongoing success over the past several years. Each year, the Wave makes winning the State Championship seem simple and the County Championship seem effortless. The reality is, however, that both of these feats are quite difficult; but, thanks to a loaded roster and experienced coaches, Delbarton hockey succeeds with dedication and hard work.  The current 2019 season looks to be just as successful as years prior.

First, overall, Wave hockey is 10-2-2 on the year with a solid 3-2-1 record against their very talented division. Their most recent victory came against Bishop Eustace when the Wave scored a season high of 10 goals and allowed 1. Shortly before this game, Delbarton had tied perennial rival CBA 2-2 and steamrolled Northern Highlands by a score of 5-0. While offensive dominance is definitely a huge contributor to the Wave’s success, tough defense in front of staunch goal tending has proven why the team succeeds: over their 14 games played, the Wave has allowed an astonishingly low 16 goals – that’s barely a goal per game. This wall-like defense can be attributed to stellar sophomore goalie Brett Cleaves.

When the Wave took on Seton Hall Prep back in December, they were 7-1 at the time, (their only loss coming in the season opener). As their biggest rivals, Prep wanted to end this formidable winning streak. Their desire to spoil Wave’s winning streak was overwhelmed, however, by stellar defense and goal tending from Cleaves. The Wave defeated Seton Hall 5-0 and recorded their third shutout. When asked about the team’s recent success after the game, Cleaves attributed it to “timely goals and the defense … Just have to keep that going.” Cleaves humbly downplayed his own contribution to their string of victories: the sophomore allowed only 8 goals in those first 8 games played. After being asked about Cleaves’ incredible success in net, Coach Bruce Shatel noted how “[Cleaves] is so technically sound. He’s a professional off the ice and his preparation is fantastic. He practices just as hard as he plays and he has a purpose with everything that he does. It translates into his game performance. He’s someone we can count on in a big spot.” Indeed, such success and professionalism is truly incredible at such a young age.

More recently, as the quality of competition has increased over time, to challenge the Wave’s success.  Injuries have also hampered the team’s continued success, but their collective “next man up” mentality has kept the team on an even keel.  They look to continue their dominance when they face off against Brunswick, a tough team all the way from Connecticut, on the 22nd. With only 7 games remaining in the regular season, the Wave looks to end strong and reclaim their spot at the top of the division as they have numerous times over the past several years.