The Protec Ducks Bantam Major National has been at the head of the class all season in NJYHL Bantam AA; outscoring opponents 166-19 in league play. Entering the NJYHL playoffs the Ducks were the team to beat. On Saturday, the Protec Ducks faced off against the North Jersey Avalanche and took a 2-0 lead with goals by Elian Estulin only to see it slip away at the end of regulation into a 2-2 deadlock. In overtime, the Ducks controlled the play and found a few openings, but were denied by the Avalanche goaltender. Finally, Defenseman John Eager put home a backhand to end the game and earn a spot in the NJYHL Final.
In the championship game, the Ducks faced the Montclair Blues, a familiar opponent. The Ducks got on the board in the second period with two goals from Zachary Alvin with the game winning assists coming from Jamie Zimmerman and Michael Agathis. Joe Auletti stood tall in net as Montclair peppered him with shots in the final stages of the game. Head Coach Barry Lupovich added, “I’ve been very pleased with the team defense, because every game going forward will be low scoring. Auletti really stood tall today and was a major reason for our championship.” With the 2-0 win, the Protec Ducks move on to districts in a few weeks and will play the Union Thunder in a best of three series with the winner advancing to USA Hockey Nationals in Kalamazoo, MI.
Team Effort Leads Ducks To Championship:
The Protec Ducks Bantam A team began the season with four straight losses and it seemed like this may not be a playoff caliber team. Slowly, but surely, the team came together and began putting together a series of league wins. Not only did the Ducks make the playoffs, they earned a first round bye in the NJYHL Championships. On Saturday, they faced a familiar foe from a recent non-league game in the Lawrence Flames who defeated the Ducks 3-1 in that game. The Ducks got a goal from Jack Buonato on a give and go set up on the powerplay. Soon after Adrian Kurylko put home a rebound from Julian Joglekar and Dave Barounis for a 2-0 lead. The Lawrence Flames scored to make the game 2-1, but goalie Preston Baker made all the necessary saves to close out the game.
In the championship, the Protec Ducks played the Union Thunder who was undefeated in league play. The Thunder used their size to intimidate the Ducks, but on a 5-on-3, Peter DaSilva’s shot was tipped by Adrian Kurylko for a 1-0 lead. The Ducks piled on with goals from RJ Mrotek and Darin Larsen for a 3-0 lead. In the end, the Ducks held on for an exciting 4-2 championship finish. Coach Alvin remarked, “This was a great team win. We had contributions from all forward lines, great goaltending, and smart defensive play.” The Bantam A team moves on to Districts in March.
2019 – 2020 Bantam A
2019 – 2020 Bantam AA