Sam Fishteyn, Matt Skobelev and Gleb Veremyev grew up together in The Forsgate Community in Monroe Township, a residential development with three neighborhoods.
The trio played squirt hockey for the Protec Ducks in Somerset, while they hung out off the ice, too.
Their parents immigrated to the United States from Russia. The Forsgate Community was full of Russian immigrants with first generation American children, and many of the families became friends.
Naturally, a lot of the kids picked up Russia’s national sport: ice hockey.
Fishteyn, Skobelev and Veremyev not only picked up the sport, they thrived in it.
Now, as Monroe Township High School players, they are breaking program records.
Fishteyn, a senior, recorded his 127th career point on Jan. 11 against Freehold-Raritan-Colts Neck, breaking the previous Monroe record of 126. Kevin Morello, a 2014 graduate, set that mark.
Skobelev, also a senior, registered his 85th career assist versus Red Bank Catholic High School on Jan. 25, beating the old Monroe record of 84, which was also set by Morello.
Veremyev, only a sophomore, shattered Monroe’s single-season points record on Jan. 17 against Toms River South-East. Going into the game, Veremyev needed a point to break the standing mark of 56.
He posted three goals and four assists, leaving the record in the dust. Monroe grad Nick Minerva set that standard in 2010-11.
“They are all talented and hard working, and they work well together,” said Monroe coach Gerry Minter.
This winter, the trio has not just accumulated records. It has also led the Falcons to a 13-7-2 team mark.
Behind Fishteyn, Skobelev and Veremyev, Monroe will be a contender for the NJSIAA Public A Tournament championship.
The Forsgate boys are hoping to make a run, since this will likely be their last season together.
Fishteyn and Skobelev will graduate in June. Veremyev is planning on transferring to The Lawrenceville School, a college preparatory school in Lawrence Township.
“Our parents would always have family parties and we’d hang out. We adapted to a new country together,” Veremyev said. “Now, as a 15-year-old, I see what it really means. As an eight-year-old kid, I was just making friends.”
“Me, Gleb and Matt have been friends since we were seven,” Fishteyn said. “Our chemistry off the ice really showed on the ice. Gleb’s peanut butter, I’m jelly and Matt’s the bread holding us together.”
“Just yesterday I was looking through my camera roll and I saw a picture of us when we were young, just skating around one day,” Skobelev said. “It would mean the world to win a state title with them.”
“Hopefully we have a relationship past high school,” he added.
All three players have bright futures.
Fishteyn is “a great student,” Minter said. But the senior is not sure where he will go to college, or if he will play hockey there.
Skobelev will play hockey and do a post-graduate school year at Phillips Academy in Andover, Ma.
“It will be a really good opportunity to get exposure,” Skobelev said. “I talked to the coach and he already got my name out to some colleges.”
Veremyev is transferring to The Lawrenceville School because “the school work is prestigious and the hockey is great,” he said.
“Going there will develop me even more,” he added. “I want to play Division 1.”
No matter where they go, though, the Forsgate boys will always cherish their time together.
“It was definitely a noteworthy chapter in our lives,” Fishteyn said.