CHATHAM, NJ - During the third quarter, one Chatham offensive player came off the field and muttered to himself, "I'm done. I'm not shooting anymore."
It was a moment of frustration that epitomized the kind of game it was for Chatham in its 10-3 loss to Delbarton on Tuesday at Cougar Field.
Chatham outshot Delbarton, 28-19, but still wound up with its lowest-scoring game of the season. Delbarton goalie Steven Kovalsky came up with the big saves and the defense, led by Chad Otterman kept the Cougars from gaining any momentum.
"We talked about it before the game," Otterman said. "We needed to slide early to No. 2, David Gill, he's a very good player. And then pretty much play position defense. We wanted to play with our feet, not give them any easy shot and let our goalie, Steven Kovalsky make some saves and he did. He played unbelievable. We had a good defensive game today."
Jack Crowley scored five goals for Delbarton, which held a big advantage in ground balls, 32-20.
Will Barnett scored off a pass from Rich Berger to tie the game at 1-1 for Chatham (6-4) midway through the first period. But Delbarton (7-2) owned the rest of the first half.
J.J. McBride's goal with 3:42 left in the first quarter made it 3-1 for Delbarton before Jordan Dowiak scored with 14.5 seconds leff and then Crowley connected in the final seconds for a 5-1 lead.
Chatham again was the aggressor in the second period with a 9-3 shot advantage, but the only goal scored in the period was by Dowiak, who received a pass from behind the net from McBride and threw in a behind-the-back shot just before the horn. It was 6-1 Delbarton at the break.
"I've done that stuff in my backyard with my brothers," said Dowiak of the behind-the-back score. "I wouldn't recommend doing that in the middle of the quarter. It happened. It was a certain circumstance and I was fortunate it went in.
"We were patient today. That was one of our main goals in practice. We know we're going to score goals if we can lull the other defense to sleep."
The victory over Chatham was preceded by victories for Delbarton over West Morris and Mountain Lakes.
"We wanted to win the Trifecta, West Morris, Mountain Lakes and Chatham and we did it," Dowiak said.
In the third quarter, Scott Lynch took a shot for Chatham that was blocked by Kovalsky, but David Gill came up with the ground ball and sprinted on net for a goal that cut it to 6-2. Will McCarthy of Delbarton had his shot saved by goalie Matt Nestler, but McCarthy picked up the loose ball and dumped it into the net for an 7-2 lead.
Chatham defenseman Mark McNally made a long run upfield and passed to Rich Berger for a goal that made it 7-3. But that was the last goal Chatham would score. Gill's bid to get Chatham back in the game was a rocket of a shot with 28 seconds left in the third that banged off the left pipe and ricocheted back to midfield.
Crowley's fifth goal of the game made it 10-3 with 7:42 showing in the fourth quarter.
"They did exactly what we thought they would do," Chatham coach Tony Calandra said. "It came down to effort and picking up ground balls. We had some opportunities and we didn't put the ball in the net."
St. Peter's transfer, Evan Bernard, will become eligible when Chatham travels to meet West Morris on Thursday. The middie is expected to give the Cougar offense a boost.