Prep Talk

Hermits Hockey wins state title in record-setting final

Posted March 4th, 2024

Ice Hockey: St. Augustine, Don Bosco combine for 16 in highest-scoring state final

NJSIAA State Hockey Non-Public Championship, 2024

St. Augustine celebrates after an empty net goal against Don Bosco Prep during the ice hockey NJSIAA Non-Public Finals at Prudential Center in Newark, NJ on Monday, March 3, 2024. Tom Horak | For NJ Advance Media

If you’re a fan of the New Jersey-based band The Gaslight Anthem and their song, “Howl,” Monday afternoon’s Non-Public state final at Prudential Center was for you.

The song, which has been the goal song of the New Jersey Devils since the 2015-16 season, is also played after every goal at the NJSIAA state championships in the same building.  It played 16 times in Monday afternoon’s Non-Public state final.

Complete Box Score »

The highest-scoring state championship game in history took place when third-seeded St. Augustine, No. 5 in the Top 20, defeated top-seeded and No. 1 Don Bosco 10-6 in the Non-Public final at Prudential Center in Newark.

It had been 30 years since the record was set, when St. Joseph of Montvale defeated Brick Township, 7-6 in the 1984 overall state championship. It became apparent very early in Monday’s final that that record may be in jeopardy, when the teams combined for seven goals in the first period alone.

“First off, I’d like to play a little better defense next time, but we got it done putting the puck in the net,” St. Augustine’s Ty Simonet said. “We really shut their guys down when we really needed to at the end of the game.”

By the end of the first period, which ended with St. Augustine holding a 4-3 lead after Simonet scored with 10.4 seconds to give his team the lead, two players were already on hat-trick watch with Don Bosco’s Erik Wrynn and St. Augustine’s Robert Romarino each scoring twice in the opening period.

Both ended up eventually completing their respective hat tricks. Not only that, but they accounted for half of the hat tricks in the game, with St. Augustine’s Cameron DeLeo and Ty Simonet each finishing with three goals. Romarino did one better, finishing with four.

“Honestly, we didn’t know if it was going to be a high scoring or low scoring game and then after the first period, it’s seven goals,” Romarino said. “We knew that we were going have to keep putting the puck in the net while also playing good defense.”

The second period saw each team score twice, with St. Augustine building a 6-3 lead before Don Bosco scored twice to pull within one- the latter being Wrynn’s goal to beat the buzzer to complete his hat trick.

The record was tied when Romarino scored his third with 4:50 left to give St. Augustine an 8-5 advantage. It was Simonet who scored 1:23 later to break the record and extend the lead to 9-5.

It was an uncharacteristic game considering the teams and their respective goaltenders. Teams that play in the Gordon Conference are known for playing tight, defensive-oriented games, and a 16-goal game is almost unheard of in a game between Gordon opponents. Factor in the fact that both of these goaltenders- St. Augustine’s Bobby Kennedy and Don Bosco’s James Tarabocchia both came into this game with sparkling save percentages.

Tarabocchia came in with an impressive .934, while Kennedy had an .890, but in his last three state tournament games had a save percentage well over .900.

“I really don’t know, to be honest,” St. Augustine coach Roman Ammirato said. “It’s stressful for me, especially watching six goals go in on our net and I can’t imagine what coach Toskos is thinking after 10. It was a little uncharacteristic for both teams but I mean, you’ve got to find a way to win and we did. It’s all good.”

The original record of 13 goals in a state final was shattered by three goals in this one.

“It was the most bizarre game I’ve coached in 18 years,” Don Bosco coach Greg Toskos said. “I don’t know what to say in the sense of, I’ve never seen a puck bounce like it did throughout the whole game for both sides. We battled back and made it 6-5 and had a lot of momentum going into the third period, and we had two really good shifts to start the third period. We almost tied it up. Then they got one at 7-5. That kind of deflated us a little bit. I give them credit. I said before the game they’re the defending champs until somebody takes them down. We gave it our all and we just couldn’t do it today.”

Additional Coverage:

Rewatch the full game at

Press of Atlantic City – St. Augustine Prep wins second straight state title

Photo Gallery:

2024 NJSIAA Hockey State Final - Hermits 10 Don Bosco Prep 6