They may have had to petition to compete in the Public B state tournament and were seeded 25th out of 26 teams, but the Red Bank Regional varsity hockey team is proving it can hold its own with the best of them.
The Bucs followed up their stunning victory against eighth-seeded Glen Rock in the first round of tournament play with a 3-2 win against Ramapo Indian Hills on Thursday.
"The boys played at a level they've never played before," said Coach Tim Hall. "They put it all out there and saw the results."
The 5-4 Glen Rock win gave the Bucs the confidence they needed to raise their level of play, said Hall. "It opened their eyes that they could compete," he said.
The Bucs stayed in control for a majority of the game, said Hall, with a goal by senior Joey DelSordo just 19 seconds into overtime bought Red Bank its ticket to its next stop in the tournament.
Captain Andrei Rjedkin scored in the first period followed by a goal by Drue Amato in the second, according to a report in NorthJersey.com.
"It was a really even battle," said Hall, adding that goalie AJ Ostrander was "incredibly sharp."
They'll take on top seed Ramsey at 5 p.m. on Sunday at the Ice Vault in a quarterfinal meeting.
Red Bank finished the regular season just under 500 and failed to qualify to compete in tournament play, which prompted them to petition for inclusion and they were accepted and seeded 25.
Hall said that this year's team, which boasts nine seniors, has "a great sense of camaraderie." He credited that closeness, nurtured by weekly team pasta dinners, and the support of the high school's athletic director, for their success.