By Jay Cook
Delbarton’s Michael Balzarotti was admittedly modest about his jaw-dropping goal Wednesday night, but the decision-makers in Bristol, Conn. knew they were watching something special later that evening.
Balzarotti’s highlight-reel dangle and goal in a Gordon Cup semifinal game — captured by JSZ cameras — was featured as the No. 3 play in America on SportsCenter’s Top 10 on Feb. 13.
“I have the high school package on the DIRECTV and I was watching this — look at your boy Michael Balzarotti of Delbarton School,” ESPN anchor and noted hockey aficionado John Buccigross remarked during the Top 10 breakdown Wednesday evening.
“That is some nice dancing,” Buccigross added.
Early in the third period of a Feb. 13 Gordon Cup semifinal game against Christian Brothers Academy at Aspen Ice, Balzarotti wrangled in a clear from teammate Max Williams, gathered the puck before dangling past a CBA defender. He then finished with a Sidney Crosby-eqsue backhand, all while playing shorthanded on a CBA power play. Balzarotti’s goal gave the Green Wave an emphatic 2-0 lead — they’d go on to capture a 3-0 win and move into the Gordon Cup finals.
“Yeah, so it was a great clear by Max Williams on the PK; I saw him going for the ice so I figured I’d kind of blow the zone and see what happened,” Balzarotti described to JSZ after the game. “After that, the puck came to me and I found myself in a one-on-one with the puck a little behind me. I tried to put it in an area and get to it. Luckily, it paid off and I had a nice backhand into the net. It was good to pad the lead there.”
That viral goal comes in the midst of a career-season for Balzarotti. His 53 points (24 goals, 29 assists) have him as third leading scorer in New Jersey’s uber-competitive Gordon Conference, a collection of private schools across the state littered with talent. Delbarton now sits at 16-5-4 on the season and will look to capture their third-straight Gordon Cup title Friday night.
“I think it’s going to be incredibly hard to beat us when we’re locked in this,” Balzarotti added.
Watch JSZ’s full highlights from the 3-0 win over CBA:
Balzarotti’s goal now becomes the second score shot by JSZ cameras to make it to the SportsCenter Top 10. JSZ Chief Operating Officer Rich Chrampanis captured a wild goal between Freehold Township’s Julian Kislin and Max Halvorsen in the 2014-2015 season which took the internet by storm and quickly became the No. 1 play on SportsCenter.
As always, stay tuned for plenty more high school hockey coverage from Jersey Sports Zone through the rest of the winter season.