ROSELLE, NJ - Brady Silverman impressed the coaching staff enough as a freshman this winter to force his way onto the Gov. Livingston/New Providence hockey roster this season.

He lived up to that billing in his varsity debut when he finished with two goals - including the winning tally - to help the Highlanders forge a 5-1 season-opening victory over Watchung Hills on Monday night at Warinanco Rink in Roselle.

Silverman finished with two goals and an assist, sophomore Brian Kramer had a goal and collected four assists and junior Shane Cook turned aside 19 of the 20 shots he faced to earn the decision. 

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Senior captain Drew Skotarczak contributed a goal and an assist while junior Matt Darata connected once for Gov. Livingston, which had not played a game since dropping a hard-fought 3-1 decision to Middletown South last year in the NJSIAAA Public B quarterfinal round. The Highlanders finished 10-14-4 in 2020.

Silverman, a left-handed shooter who skates on the right wing, one-timed a pass from Kramer and put the shot top shelf to snap a 1-1 tie - and gave the Highlanders the lead for good with 5:55 remaining in the first period. 

“He’s an exceptional player who made quick adjustments to the high school pace,” said Gov. Livingston coach Michael Criscitello, “and we expect that he will continue to do that. The fact that Brady scored two goals in his first varsity game isn’t a surprise at all. He showed he has a lot of talent and that transferred into his first game. He definitely answered the bell.”

It had been more than 10 months since the Highlanders skated in a competitive contest, but the club was able to produce a sound effort in all three zones. Gov. Livingston played a pristine game on special teams, capitalizing on its lone power play while being whistled for just one penalty - which it killed off successfully.

The Highlanders outshot Watchung Hills (0-2) 37-20 over the 45-minute contest.

Darata extended the lead to 3-1 in the second period when he converted on assists from Silverman and Kramer.

In the third Silverman scored his second goal, a power-play tally, to make it a 4-1 game, with Kramer and Skotarczak with 8:11 left. Skotarczak closed it out when he finished off a feed from Kramer with 5:47 on the clock.

Gov. Livingston’s top line with Kramer centering for Silverman and Darata was on the ice for all five of the team’s goals.

“For our first game you obviously go into it a bit nervous with a young team,” Criscitello said, “but we got it out of our system in the first few minutes and put together a good effort. We were very happy with our effort and I think our depth really stood out. All our lines worked hard and Shane did a great job holding Watchung Hills to just one goal.”

The Highlanders travel into Middlesex County on Friday when they skate against Woodbridge with a 3:15 face off at the Woodbridge Community Center