Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Five Things to Watch for in the Passaic County Tournament

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Five Things to Watch for in the Passaic County Tournament

Article excerpt

The Passaic County ice hockey tournament will kick off Friday with a pair of games: No. 3 Wayne Valley vs. No. 6 Passaic Valley/ Cedar Grove and No. 4 West Milford vs. No. 5 Clifton. No. 1 Lakeland, the reigning champion, and No. 2 Wayne Hills, last year's runner-up, received byes into Saturday's semifinals. The final will take place at 6:30 p.m. Monday. All games will be played at Floyd Hall Arena in Little Falls.

Here is what to watch for:

1. Will Lakeland repeat?

Not since Clifton accomplished the feat in 2004-05 has a team repeated as champion. In fact, in the past eight years, seven different teams have won the title - only Lakeland won two. The top- seeded Lancers - led by Danny Mullin (28 goals, 23 assists), Shane Davison (20 goals, 25 assists), Andrew Heck (11 goals, 14 assists) and Sean Komjian (2.20 goals-against average) - enter as the prohibitive favorites one year after a storybook run culminated in the program's second county championship.

2. Will a Wayne Hills-Wayne Valley semifinal matchup come to fruition?

Should Wayne Valley - in the midst of a revival just two years after a winless campaign - beat No. 6 Passaic Valley/Cedar Grove on Friday, it'll be Hills-Valley on Saturday night in the semis. The crosstown rivals played to a 2-2 tie Dec. 18, and Wayne Valley coach Justin Liscio told his team afterward not to be surprised if the Indians see the Patriots in county play. The teams have not met in the tournament since the 2010-11 season.

3. Is Wayne Hills getting hot at the right time?

The Patriots are 6-4-4, but they're unbeaten in their past six and 6-1-3 in their past 10. The lone defeat during that stretch was a 2-1 setback Dec. 22 against Chatham. They're missing the big-time scorer they've had in years past in Danny Reidel, but sophomore Dean Hulbert (13 goals, 12 assists), junior Daniel Mirman (13 goals, 10 assists) and freshman Nicholas Chiocca (seven goals, six assists) have given the Patriots a balanced offense.

4. Expect the unexpected?

Though Lakeland enters as the No. 1 seed, there have been upsets in the tournament the past two years -- particularly in the later rounds. Last year it was the Lancers handing No. 2 West Milford and No. …

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