Junior Jon Miranda has been a large reason the Middletown North High School ice hockey team chose to remain red hot.
Miranda recorded his first career hat trick to lead the Lions into a 4-1 victory on the Freehold Borough/Raritan/Colts Neck co-op team in the Howell Ice Arena on Dec. 13.
Middletown North has scored 18 targets in its past four matches, 12 of that have come in the past two games after beating Jackson Memorial, 8-1, on Dec. 12.
“Twelve goals in 2 matches is wonderful to do,” said Middletown North trainer Don Wood. “It requires a little pressure from attempting to shut down everybody for three phases straight on protection. We tell our men to get pucks to the net and receive bodies the internet for rebound shots. We’d nearly 30 shots on the net in the match and that is a range of shots we wish to be at in each match.”
The success lifted Middletown North into a 3-1-1 record at Dec. 13.
For the Freehold Boro/Raritan/Colts Neck co-op team, the reduction marked its second straight defeat after starting the season 2-1.
“We just need to continue to grow and grow as the season continues,” explained Freehold Borough/Raritan/Colts Neck trainer Brian Simpson. “We’ve got a few guys out now with accidents. We’ve got a good deal of younger men playing. We ought to have everyone back healthy following the holiday break and get prepared to generate a run in the second half of this year.”
A scoreless game with under five minutes to perform in the first phase, Miranda struck first goal of the night to put the Lions up 1-0.
The junior discovered the net just over two minutes after that gave Middletown North that a two-goal lead.
Obtaining a move from teammate Jesse Dickinson directly in the front of the crease, Miranda literally turned into a no-look shot which ended up sailing across the pole of their co-op group’s goalie Anthony Guglieri and to the net to put the Lions up 2-0 going into the next period.
Miranda restricted his particular night with two:43 to perform in the next period following teammate Zach Brady knocked home his second goal of the season just more than four minutes into the span which make it a three-goal cause Middletown North.
Again, getting a great pass from Dickinson rolling across the internet, Miranda struck a slap shot directly back off the internet for his first career hat trick and also to provide the Lions a 4-0 lead heading into the next period.
“It felt very great,” Miranda explained. “One of my great friends Jesse (Dickinson) gave it to me personally. Feels pretty good to start the off season as we have had.”
Miranda has scored four goals so far this year.
Senior Joe Barone scored his team-leading fourth goal of the year for its sole Freehold Borough/Raritan/Colts Neck score of this competition, going coast to coast to acquire the co-op group on the board together with 1:15 left to perform with.
Guglieri needed a game-high 23 saves in net to its co-op team.
“We fought back and the children never gave up,” Simpson explained. “They fought all the way through and won the next phase by acquiring a target and outshooting them at the interval.”
Senior goalie Matt Corella had 18 saves in net for the Lions.
Practice Steven Bassin on Twitter @SBassin_Sports