MORRIS TOWNSHIP, NJ - There was no rubbing of the eyes or yawns when the Chatham ice hockey team took to the ice at 10:30 a.m. Monday for its season opener on Martin Luther King Jr. Day at Mennen Sports Arena.
While classmates might have been sleeping in late for the non-school day holiday, the Cougars were wide awake and raring to go from the start with 27 shots in the opening period. A four-goal outburst in the second spurred Chatham's 6-2 win over a combined Kinnelon-Sparta-Jefferson team.
While the shots were aplenty, Chatham didn't hit the net until its 22nd shot when sophomore Doyle Curry connected from the right wing with his angled strike into the far side of the net (see below).
The Cougars broke open the contest with four goals in the second period on shots by seniors Declan Curry, Brandon Lupi, and Ryan Sordillo. Declan Curry's second goal came on a breakaway with 13.6 seconds left, as he put his shot high over the goalie's shoulder to make it 5-1 before the break.
"I came out of the penalty box and Doyle (Curry) hit me with a nice pass from our deep zone and I caught the goalie off guard by going top shelf," Declan said.
Declan Curry, Brandon Lupi and Doyle Curry talk about the opener
"First game of the year, without a practice under our belt," Chatham coach Brendon Herr said. "I think we settled in in the second and third. The lines worked well. We were happy with the effort at least.
"We have a lot of new faces. We saw a lot of good things from the younger players and we're excited for Pope John tomorrow."
Declan Curry's first goal of the game (see below) made it 2-0 for Chatham before "Kinspason" (0-1-1) cut it to 2-1 on a goal by Dillon Fleksher.
A minute after Fleksher's goal, Lupi connected for his first goal. Ryan Burke took a shot that was blocked and Chatham teammate Will White made an attempt at the rebound before Lupi stuffed it home for a 3-1 advantage (see below).
James Battaglia scored 17 seconds into the third period for Kinnelon-Sparta-Jefferson before Lupi closed out the scoring with his second goal (see below).
COUGAR NOTES: Sophomore forward Doyle Curry led the family point production with two goals and an assist, with senior sibling Declan Curry scoring two goals and sophomore twin, Ronan, picking up an assist in the Currys' combined six-point effort ... senior Ryan Sordillo (15 goals and 15 assists last season) continued his balanced effort in 2021 for the Cougars with a goal and an assist .... Chatham goalie Michael Park was credited with 13 saves while his counterpart Brett Lewis of "Kinspason" was credited with 50 stops on 56 shots by the Cougars ... Chatham returns to the ice for an 8 p.m. game vs. Pope John at Mennen on Tuesday, Jan. 19.