Montclair Ice Hockey Rivalry Ends in Tie: Montclair High, MKA 2-2

BY  |  Saturday, Jan 07, 2017 1:36pm

The atmosphere at a Montclair vs. MKA ice hockey game is always a charged one, and it was no different for 45 minutes of game time Friday afternoon. After the buzzer, though, there was a noticeable drop-off in noise from the packed Clary Anderson Arena stands, a sign that nothing had been settled between these two cross-town rivals.

A packed Clary Anderson Arena watches a faceoff during Friday's hockey game between Montclair High and MKA, which ended in a 2-2 tie.

A packed Clary Anderson Arena watches a faceoff during Friday’s hockey game between Montclair High and MKA, which ended in a 2-2 tie.

Junior forward Pat Ledgett scored a pair of goals for the Mounties, but a late equalizer from MKA’s Judson Potenza meant the teams settled for a 2-2 tie before a standing-room only crowd at the Chestnut Street rink. Continue Reading

Montclair High School Sports Week in Review: Ice Hockey, Basketball and Wrestling

BY  |  Tuesday, Jan 03, 2017 12:30pm

It wasn’t quite a Christmas miracle, but the Montclair High School ice hockey team’s goalie, Ondrej Smalec, had one of the highlight performances of the local winter sports season during the holiday week.

Montclair High senior goalie Ondrej Smalec had 54 saves in the Mounties' holiday tournament win over Ridgewood last week.

Montclair High senior goalie Ondrej Smalec had 54 saves in the Mounties’ holiday tournament win over Ridgewood last week.

The star goalie made a career-high 54 saves, including a flurry during the final minutes of a frantic third period, to help MHS knock off Ridgewood, 2-1, in the consolation game of the Clary Anderson Holiday Invitational last Thursday, Dec. 29. Thursday’s win also made Smalec the unofficial winningest goalie in MHS history with 45, according to head coach Pat Verney.

Smalec, a four-year starter in net, is having a monstrous senior season for a young Montclair team that improved to 4-4-2 overall after splitting their own holiday tournament. He has allowed just 11 goals in nine games started, saving an incredible 306 of 317 shots faced (96.5 percent). Continue Reading

Montclair High School Sports Week In Review: Dec. 12-18

BY  |  Tuesday, Dec 20, 2016 10:23am

Senior Alisa Wiggins (3) shoots a jump shot during Montclair's 43-36 setback to Bloomfield last Friday, Dec. 17. Photo courtesy of Jeff Gaskin.

Senior Alisa Wiggins (3) shoots a jump shot during Montclair’s 43-36 setback to Bloomfield last Friday, Dec. 17. Photo courtesy of Jeff Gaskin.

The high school basketball and wrestling seasons began Friday, with mixed results for Montclair High School sports teams. Now, we enter the first full week of the season, which is a busy one all around. Upcoming highlights include the boys basketball team’s home opener, the ice hockey team’s battle for league supremacy and a bounce-back opportunity for the girls basketball team. Follow @SportsMontclair on Twitter for live updates throughout the season.

BOYS BASKETBALL (1-0 overall, 1-0 SEC-Liberty) Continue Reading

Mounties Defense Strong, But Cold Shooting Leads to 43-36 Defeat Against Bloomfield

BY  |  Saturday, Dec 17, 2016 2:57pm

The Montclair High School girls basketball team’s formula for success in 2016-17 figures to be a simple one. The Mounties are undersized, but have three standout guards – seniors Alisa Wiggins and Jill Jennings and sophomore Bianca Fede – who can provide consistent offense. And MHS will look to play frenetic, high-pressure defense designed to create havoc and turnovers.

In Friday night’s season opener, Montclair’s defense lived up to expectations, but a cold shooting night doomed the home team to a 43-36 defeat against rival Bloomfield.

Montclair High senior Jill Jennings goes up for a layup during the Mounties' 43-36 defeat to Bloomfield Friday night. Courtesy of Jeff Gaskin.

Montclair High senior Jill Jennings goes up for a layup during the Mounties’ 43-36 defeat to Bloomfield Friday night. Courtesy of Jeff Gaskin.

True to form, Fede led the Mounties with 15 points, while Wiggins (13 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists) and Jennings (8 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists) combined for the remainder. But MHS struggled all night shooting the ball, finishing the game at just 29.7 percent.

Bloomfield’s size advantage translated into a decisive rebounding edge, which proved to be the difference. Continue Reading

Montclair High School Sports Week in Review: Basketball, Wrestling, Swimming, Ice Hockey

BY  |  Monday, Dec 12, 2016 3:45pm

The winter sports season is underway at Montclair High School, and the schedule kicks into high gear this Friday, Dec. 16, when the basketball and wrestling seasons officially begin throughout the state of New Jersey.

Each week, we’ll take an overview look at the various Mountie winter sports teams, running down the top performances of the past week and looking ahead to the top matchups of the week ahead.

BOYS BASKETBALL (0-0 overall, 0-0 SEC-Liberty)
Last week’s games: None
This week’s games: Friday, 12/16: at Newark Tech, 7 p.m.
We’ll take a closer look at the Mounties later in the week with a full team preview.

New head coach Gary Wallace will lead his squad out for their inaugural game in Newark this Friday, the first of 12 conference games in a very competitive Super Essex Conference-Liberty Division. Fans’ first chance to see them on their home court will come next Tuesday night, Dec. 20.

The team also has its final preseason scrimmage Tuesday at Hackensack (4 p.m.).

GIRLS BASKETBALL (0-0 overall, 0-0 SEC-Liberty)
Last week’s games: None.
This week’s games: Friday, 12/16: home vs. Bloomfield, 7 p.m.

More on these Mounties later in the week, as well. Friday night’s home opener kicks off a busy first two weeks of the season for second-year head coach Paul Palek, who returns the core of a squad that finished last season 15-12 overall, including a run to the North 1, Group 4 state sectional semifinals: back-to-back road games on Dec. 20 and 22 (Nutley and Newark Academy) will be followed by three games against top-rated opponents in four days at the Mount St. Dominic Invitational Dec. 26-29.

Montclair’s final preseason scrimmage is slated for Tuesday afternoon at 4 p.m. against Northern Highlands at the MHS Main Gym on Midland Avenue.

Ben Wakefield

Forward Ben Wakefield potted two goals in a 3-1 victory.

Continue Reading

Montclair High School Sports: Ice Hockey Preview

BY  |  Monday, Dec 12, 2016 2:24pm

Topping last year’s incredible success – 19 wins, a 20-game unbeaten streak to open the season, a division title and a run to the final four of the state tournament – would be a challenge for the Montclair High School ice hockey team even before you consider that the program graduated nearly 90 percent of its offense.

But there’s a palpable feeling of excitement around the 2016-17 Mounties, a feeling that head coach Pat Verney chalks up to his team’s unified sense of identity and purpose.

“It’s a different kind of season,” said Verney, who posted a 126-72-24 record over his first nine seasons with MHS. “We’re not going to win a lot of games 8-6, you know, we’re gonna be playing a lot of 1-0, 2-1 games. But I think the kids recognize that, they embrace that identity. They get excited about the little plays that don’t show up in the scoresheet, and those little plays become addictive. They feed off it. They kind of take pride in knowing that we’re a frustrating team to play against. This kind of team can be a lot of fun when everyone understands and believes in what we’re doing, and I think we’re there.”

Senior captain Ondrej Smalec

Senior captain Ondrej Smalec


Continue Reading

Montclair Mounties Rally to Defeat Bloomfield 30-23 And Reclaim Investors Cup at Thanksgiving Game

BY  |  Thursday, Nov 24, 2016 8:10pm

After calling timeout with 7:55 remaining in Montclair High School’s annual Thanksgiving Day football game against Bloomfield, defensive coordinator Jamie Bittner had a message for his beleaguered defenders, who were on their heels against a strong Bengal run game.

“I told our guys that we’re going to make an adjustment, move some people around to help us out,” Bittner said. “But I told them that ultimately, I don’t have any magic formula. It was all about them. They needed to be more physical, they needed to make a play.”

The very next snap after Bittner’s message, the Mountie defense did just that, as senior linebacker John Lewis stripped Bloomfield running back Zavion Stevens and sophomore Willie Matthews recovered.

Given new life, Montclair’s offense exploded for two touchdowns in the next four minutes to earn a come-from-behind 30-23 win over the rival Bengals Thursday afternoon at Woodman Field.

“It was just a big cluster of people in there,” Lewis said. “Willie managed to get a wrap on [Stevens], and I was able to just kind of gave him a little pull and was able to get the ball out. It was a huge momentum swing, we really needed it.”

Senior defensive lineman Liam Devine-Carter, right  receives Montclair's Most Valuable Player award following the Mounties' 30-23 win over Bloomfield Thursday.

Senior defensive lineman Liam Devine-Carter, right receives Montclair’s Most Valuable Player award following the Mounties’ 30-23 win over Bloomfield Thursday.

The Mounties (7-4, 5-1) recaptured the Investors Cup rivalry trophy for the fifth time in the trophy’s six-year history, and the win also earned MHS a share of the North Jersey Super Football Conference’s Liberty Blue Division title with West Orange. Continue Reading

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Another "ground-level basement" (to get around the building height rules)?!

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