December 20, 2017

Senior Goalie Gorelenkov Comes Up Big As PDS Boys’ Hockey Edges Delbarton

LOCKED IN: Princeton Day School boys’ hockey goalie Boris Gorelenkov prepares to stop a shot in a game earlier this season. Last Wednesday, Gorelenkov made 24 saves as PDS edged perennial powerhouse Delbarton 1-0. The Panthers, who defeated Rye Country Day (N.Y.) 7-0 last Thursday to improve to 6-3, are next in action when they host their annual Harry Rulon-Miller Invitational from December 29-30. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Boris Gorelenkov realized that the Princeton Day School boys’ hockey team faced a major challenge as it hosted perennial powerhouse Delbarton last Wednesday.

“We knew that they were a team that has won 95 percent of their games over the last 10-15 years,” said PDS senior goalie Gorelenkov.

“We had a lot of respect for this group coming in and just tried to put it all out on the ice.”

By the end of the evening, Gorelenkov earned the respect of Delbarton, making 24 saves as the Panthers prevailed 1-0.

A key moment in the contest came when Gorelenkov stifled a Delbarton penalty shot in the second period to keep it a 0-0 contest.

“On any shot in the game, I am trying to just tell myself watch the puck,” said Gorelenkov, recalling his mindset in dealing with pressure of the penalty shot.

In the third period, Gorelenkov faced some more anxious moments as his stick was knocked away from him and sat behind the goal for more than a minute of action.

“I was screaming, ‘Just dump the puck,’” said Gorelenkov. “I just had to battle through it, stuff happens.”

Since beating Delbarton is not something that happens often, the Panthers savored the triumph.

“This has been the No. 1 team in the state for how long, it is probably the biggest win for our program ever,” said Gorelenkov.

Assuming the No. 1 goalie spot for PDS in the wake of the graduation of four-year starter Logan Kramsky, Gorelenkov is looking to be a big factor for the Panthers like his predecessor.

“I tried to learn as much as I could from Logan last year. Obviously he is great; he is playing juniors now,” said Gorelenkov.

“I am just going to try to replicate his success here and hopefully play somewhere next year.”

In order to be successful, Gorelenkov knows that he needs to concentrate at all times on the ice.

“I try to try to work on my eyesight which is the biggest thing, following the puck and just keeping my focus,” said Gorelenkov.

PDS head coach Scott Bertoli was thrilled to see Gorelenkov come up big against Delbarton.

“Boris was outstanding today; he did everything he needed to do to put us in a position to win a game,” said Bertoli.

“He is not Logan Kramsky but with this group and how strong we are in the back end, he doesn’t need to be. He just needs to be himself, be confident, and make the saves he needs to make. We, as a group defensively, will do what we need to do to clear the front of the net to limit second chance opportunities.”

In Bertoli’s view, beating Delbarton should be a confidence builder for his squad.

“They are the benchmark of high school hockey in New Jersey,” said Bertoli.

“As a hockey guy, I respect and appreciate how hard it is to play against them. There is so much structure and discipline to their game.”

PDS had to show discipline in order to deal with Delbarton’s high level of play at both ends of the ice.

“They make it hard, we talked about it between periods; this is what hockey is all about,” said Bertoli.

“It is supposed to be hard; it is supposed to be a struggle. For kids that want to play at the next level, this is it night in, night out. You have got to walk away from this game beat up and feeling that you have exerted yourself and expended every ounce of energy. When you do that, it is just so much more rewarding; they force you to do that.”

Senior defenseman Eric Sherman helped hold the fort for the Panthers while classmate Russell Friedman tallied the lone goal of the game with a laser shot on an odd-man rush late in the second period.

“Eric has been so good and his game has gone to a different level in the last couple of years; his ability to skate is like none other,” said Bertoli.

“Friedman has been really good. He is a kid that isn’t always rewarded, like a lot of other kids who put in a lot of time and put in the effort and play the game the right way. For him to score a goal in a moment like that, the timing of it, at the end of the second period, was good to see.”

For Bertoli, the chief reward of the win was the chance for his players to see how they respond when pushed by a quality foe.

“I am just happy for this group; I am happy for the program,” said Bertoli, whose team defeated Rye Country Day (N.Y.) 7-0 last Thursday to improve to 6-3 and is next in action when it hosts its annual Harry Rulon-Miller Invitational from December 29-30.

“This is arguably the biggest win this program has had in the last 10 years. You can go win Prep championships and you can hang banners, but you really measure yourself against the very best and they are the very best. They have earned the respect that everyone gives them. We aspire to be the best and we relish the opportunity to play a group like that.”

Gorelenkov, for his part, believes the Panthers have what it takes to win championships this winter.

“We just want to keep rolling,” said Gorelenkov.  “Ultimately, we want to win our own Harry Rulon-Miller tournament and then win the Mid Atlantic Hockey League.”