The last time the CBA hockey team was on the ice, they overcame a three-goal deficit against Delbarton before hoisting the state championship trophy. The only thing that might top that feat is securing yet another state title this season.
The CBA hockey team opens up their new season this week, preparing for their first scrimmage against Red Bank Catholic on November 18.
After being declared co-champs with Morristown-Beard in 2014, the Colts badly wanted a state championship all to themselves, but in last year's state final at the Prudential Center, CBA found themselves down 3-0 in the second period.
The Colts evened up the score with Delbarton late in the third period, before winning in sudden-death overtime, 4-3, and securing CBA's seventh hockey state championship. It was the Colts' first outright state title since 2005 also against Delbarton, when NHL star James van Riemsdyk roamed the ice for CBA.
Head coach Ryan Bogan, named Coach of the Year by NJ.com last season, understands the expectations that come with being the champions, but knows there is no easy path to the state final.
"I expect nothing less than winning it all this season," Bogan said. "I think we have to fight complacency and understand we have to work harder than ever."
After finishing the 2014-15 season with a 23-5 record, CBA will have their work cut out for them again in the ever-competitive Gordon Conference. They lost in the Gordon Cup quarterfinals to Bergen Catholic, but avenged that loss by beating them in the state tournament.
But even with Gordon Conference games against Bergen Catholic, Delbarton and St. Augustine, all of which finished in NJ.com's top-20 last year, Bogan thinks the Colts have something to prove against a different squad.
"I think winning in this conference is about mental preparation and match-ups," Bogan said. "I think we have the most to prove against Don Bosco. They have had our number a bit over the last couple of years."
The January 6th match-up with Don Bosco will serve as Military Appreciation Night at Jersey Shore Arena. The evening will help raise money for the Lt. Dennis W. Zilinski Memorial Foundation, which remembers the CBA alum that was killed in Iraq in 2005.
CBA returns both the NJ.com's Player of the Year, Ryan Bogan Jr., and NJ.com's second team all-state goalie, Michael Cernero. These two seniors will undoubtedly provide championship-caliber leadership in their final season with the Colts.
For all the accolades in 2014-15, including being named NJ.com's Team of the Year last March, Bogan's squad will accept nothing less than a third consecutive trip to the Prudential Center in search of the school's eighth state title come this March.
- INSIDE ATHLETICS