Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Impressive Start for Bergen Cath

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Impressive Start for Bergen Cath

Article excerpt

First-year coach Brian Monteverdi has brought a new energy to Bergen Catholic hockey and the Crusaders already are reaping the benefits.

His players are learning that complacency is unacceptable.

"Like I told them before in the locker room, ... in business there's a line, 'You're only as good as your last sale or your last deal,' " Monteverdi said after the Crusaders beat Montclair Kimberley, 6-4, on Monday to improve to 3-1.

"I went around the room and asked the kids what that statement meant to them. And they figure it out. They realize we're only as good as our last win.

"If you're hitting that plateau and continue doing it, you want to keep that going. You can't have those letdowns to be a successful team, like we're trying to be."

To outsiders, the Crusaders are among the biggest surprises in the state through the first three weeks of the season, hanging tough with six-time defending state champion Delbarton (a 2-1 loss) while defeating perennial state powers Morris Knolls, Montclair Kimberley and, most notably, Christian Brothers.

But inside the locker room, Bergen Catholic, a program that has endured four straight losing seasons while accumulating a 26-53-3 record, is filled with returning letter-winners out to prove something. And they're buying into what Monteverdi is selling.

"I would say our expectations haven't changed at all," senior defenseman and team captain Kyle Smyth said. "But I'd say all the other teams in North Jersey have been seeing what Bergen Catholic has been doing and are taking notice. And Coach wants it just as bad we do."

Tonight, Bergen Catholic can put an exclamation point on its impressive start with a win against rival Don Bosco -- a returning state finalist and the consensus top team in North Jersey.

"You don't have to graduate from Bergen Catholic to understand how important this game is for the school and for this team," said Monteverdi, a Gordon Cup champion at Seton Hall Prep in 1983.

"Bosco has kind of ruled Bergen the past couple [of] years, but the kids have a good energy going and they're looking forward to it. There's a lot of excitement."

The Crusaders feature a balanced attack that goes four lines deep; a technically sound, physical and smart back line featuring defensemen Smyth and fellow senior Joe Brown, and two of the area's top goaltenders in senior Gennaro Anzevino (95. …

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