• Mike Gurnis

2018-19 Randolph team preview

LAST SEASON: Randolph put together another impressive year, as it finished 22-2-3- with its only regular season loss coming to Morristown on Feb. 1. It won the Mennen Cup title for the first time in 10 years, and reached the NJSIAA Public B final, where it lost, 1-0 to Northern Highlands.


HEAD COACH: Rich McLaughlin, 26th year. 416-180-62 career record.


CONFERENCE AND CLASSIFICATION: MCSSIHL-Mennen Division; NJSIAA Public B.


KEY PLAYERS GRADUATED: Randolph lost a very talented 11-player senior class from last year's state finalist, which was led by goalie Scott Kimiecik, who posted an out-of-this-world .956 save percentage. Will Zimmer (22 g., 20 a.), Max Gaudioso (5 g., 14 a.), and Nick Civetta (14 g., 11 a.) will also be big losses for this program.


FORWARDS: Sophomore James Mattson is the team's top returning scorer, after posting 11 goals and six assists during his freshman season last year. Junior Justin Harper also is coming off a nice year with six goals and 11 assists. Sophomore Nick Gallo posted three goals and seven assists as a freshman.


DEFENSE: Randolph's trademark under McLaughlin's tenure has been the team's defensive play. Just last year, the team allowed just 25 goals all season in 27 games, so it surrendered less than a goal per game. Senior Austin Cross provided a physical presence last year and chipped in offensively as well, as he dished out 10 assists. Junior Mike Sofia also showed the ability to jump in on offense with three goals and 11 assists.


GOALTENDING: With Kimiecik and his backup, Trevor Stenberg both gone to graduation, it will be up to senior Matt Cuzio and junior Gavin Einfeldt to take over between the pipes. Neither player has any varsity experience to this point.


OUTLOOK: There is perhaps no public school program that is as consistent as Randolph has been year-in and year-out under McLaughlin. While faces change from year-to-year, this team always seems to find itself in the thick of things come state tournament time. It has won eight state titles since 2003, and has made it to at least the state semifinals every year since 2000-01.

This year's edition of the Rams certainly appears to be younger than in previous years, especially after losing so many seniors from last year's team. But while players change, Randolph's disciplined, defensive-oriented style of play remains the same each year, and that style suits it well especially late in the season. It should once again compete in the Mennen Division and make another deep state tournament run.

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