WEST ORANGE, NJ - The Verona-Glen Ridge ice hockey team learned a tough lesson on Wednesday evening about overlooking their opponents resulting in a 2-0 loss against Nutley at Codey Arena on Wednesday.

    “Before the game I said we are the stronger team, but you’ve got to be careful and if we’re not hungry and urgent they’re going to get some kind of bouncy goal,” said Head Coach Ken Lilien.

    Verona dominated play for 42 of the 45 minute contest. The Hillbillies out shot their Raider counterparts 48 to 14. The Nutley goaltender and defense did not budge however, refusing to give up any goals.

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    “My thoughts were that [Nutley goalie Johnny] Matrona played great,” said Lilien.

    Ultimately, a penalty late in the game put VGR on the penalty kill. C.J Hannon’s deflection on the powerplay with 7:05 remaining was the decisive goal in the contest for the Raiders. 

    “That’s a tough game for a goalie when you’re sitting out there for 45 minutes not seeing too many shots and they go on the powerplay and it bounces in,” said Lilien.

    Verona generated a number of key scoring chances to try and tie the game up in the third. Unfortunately, a collapsing Nutley defense pounced on any loose pucks and blocked a number of second chances. 

    “I thought the urgency of the battle to the front of the net real estate, yes we got 48 shots, but I don’t feel like enough of those were scoring chances,” said Lilien.

    For the Hillbillies who were clearly the more talented team in the game the lesson was obvious, goals and subsequently wins are earned.

    “I thought what happened is we got a little bit comfortable meaning our guys started to feel that controlling the play because they were not as strong as us that something would trickle through,” said Lilien.

    The Verona-Glen Ridge squad will drop to 0-1 on the season. The group will have a chance to rebound on Sunday when they take on Scotch Plains-Fanwood. 

    “I think we’ll respond to it…I just feel like we need to turn up the hunger a little bit,” said Lilien.

TAPinto Verona/Cedar Grove  is an online newspaper serving the Townships of Verona and Cedar Grove. TAPinto Verona/Cedar Grove is accredited by the New Jersey Press Association, and is a locally owned news organization serving the community.

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