December 14, 2016

Star Defensemen Petruolo Providing Two-Way Play As PDS Boys’ Hockey Showing Competitive Fire

NIC OF TIME: Princeton Day School boys’ hockey player Nic Petruolo heads up the ice in recent action. Last week, junior defenseman Petruolo scored two goals to help PDS pull out a 3-3 tie against St. Joseph High (Metuchen). The Panthers, now 3-3-1, will be hosting their 47th annual Harry Rulon-Miller ’51 Invitational from December 16-17. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

With the Princeton Day School boys’ hockey missing star goalie Logan Kramsky and high-scoring forward Tyler Coffey as it hosted St. Joseph High (Metuchen) last week, Nic Petruolo was ready to shoulder more responsibility.

“Not having Logan and Ty was a pretty hard thing to overcome so a couple of guys had to step up,” said junior defenseman Petruolo.

“I knew I had to step up, being one of the bigger guys, one of the bigger parts on the back end.”

Petruolo got the Panthers going with a big play, scoring a goal 3:19 into the December 6 contest.

“I was trying to find a lane; I know it wasn’t my hardest shot but there was a good screen in front by one of our forwards,” said Petruolo. “You just throw the puck at the net and hope for the best.”

The game was knotted 1-1 heading into the third period and St. Joseph forged ahead, scoring a goal with 10:16 remaining in regulation. Petruolo struck again, finding the back of the net with PDS on a power play.

“I know that is one of our weaker ends in the past few games so I thought that was a good play,” said Petruolo. “I made a good shot.”

After St. Joseph regained the lead minutes later, the Panthers got another big shot as PDS junior forward Ryan Lisk tallied with 1:22 left and the game ended in a 3-3 tie.

“We did the best we could, there were a couple of bad breaks on the back end,” said Petruolo. “We ended up tying it up at the end of the game, can’t ask for much more.”

Coming into the season, Petruolo worked hard on getting more out of his game.

“Over the summer, I tried working on my skating, that has been my weakness as a bigger kid,” said Petruolo.

“Offense had always been a pretty good part of my game. I had to work on my positioning, that is one of my weaker ends.”

PDS head coach Scott Bertoli likes the offensive production he is getting from Petruolo from the blue line.

“From the backside, I feel like we do a lot of good things,” said Bertoli.

“We have got guys we like to get involved, Nic being one of them and Eric Sherman being the other one, he has some capabilities. Chip Hamlett has made leaps and bounds progress from where he was last year.”

Bertoli saw progress as his shorthanded team battled St. Joseph. “I thought the first period and the third period were two of the better periods we have played to this point,” asserted Bertoli.

“For the majority of that game I felt like we controlled territorially. We had a ton of chances, we out chanced them. I think we did a lot of really good things against a quality team. They are well coached, they play to their strengths. I was impressed, it was a good challenge for us.”

The Panthers showed some good character as they rallied from two one-goal deficits in the third period.

“Obviously you want to win every game and I thought we deserved a better fate tonight because I thought we played well enough to win,” said Bertoli. “I like the fact that we did come back late, that is encouraging.”

Last Thursday, PDS played very well again as it put a scare into powerful Delbarton, the top-ranked team in New Jersey, falling 1-0 as goalie Kramsky was back and brilliant with a 21-save effort.

In Bertoli’s view, the matchup with Delbarton was a key early-season litmus test for this squad.

“We are excited, it is something we have wanted to do for a few years,” said Bertoli, whose team went on to go 1-2 in the Rider Cup Tournament at the Albany Academy last weekend and will host its 47th annual Harry Rulon-Miller ’51 Invitational from December 16-17. “We have got a good group, we have some depth.”

Petruolo, for his part, is looking to do his best to inspire the group. “Being an upperclassman this year, I have to step up and be one of the bigger guys on the team,” said Petruolo.

“It can’t be one guy always but I know I have to be one of the parts and get the guys going before the game.”