LIVINGSTON, NJ - The Livingston Lancers played stellar hockey at this year’s Essex County Holiday Tournament at Richard J. Codey Arena.
The weekend action began on Friday against Steinert. The game began with an early shorthanded goal by Steinert’s Jared Nixon. However, Livingston senior Tal Finberg answered quickly with a snipe assisted by Sophomore Phil Edelman. It felt like Groundhog Day later that period, as Steinert put another shot in net past junior goaltender Brendan Flaherty, only to be answered by another Finberg goal.
Livingston’s defense knew that they needed to step up after a disappointing first stanza. Captain Cole Friedfertig rallied his defensive troops and maintained possession of the puck for most of the second period of play. Steinert managed one more tally, but that would be the last time they would score this game. The horn sounded three more times for Livingston with goals scored by David Reiter, Cole Friedfertig and Joe Lilien—all of which were assisted by Finberg.
Steinert seemed to be running on fumes in the third period. Livingston took full advantage of their opponent’s exhaustion and put three more pucks in net. Friedfertig and Jake Crockett each put one behind Steinert’s Anthony Pasqua, with assists from Finberg, and Finberg himself scored once more, completing a hat-trick and leaving the score 8-3.
Although Livingston won, Tal Finberg stole the spotlight, as he recorded a point in every one of the eight goals for the Lancers. This was monumental as Finberg also reached his 100th career point as a Lancer that evening.
The next day, Livingston used the momentum gained from the prior evening’s performance to win against River Dell. Even with a late goalie change, River Dell couldn’t stop the Lancers as they were shut out, 7-0. Sophomore phenom Crockett played the game of his career, leaving the game with four goals to his name. Finberg added two goals to the scoreboard and Reiter snuck one in as well. Sophomore Marc Agnello obtained his first career point with an assist that night and goalie Brian Lilien saved all 19 shots that River Dell challenged him with.
After a day of rest, Livingston played their final game of the weekend on Mon., Dec. 30 against St. Rose. Livingston was not going to be able to walk all over their opponent like the games before. St. Rose was able to topple both Nutley and Verona, two teams that were able to beat out the Lancers the week before.
The first period ended scoreless; however St. Rose found a gap in the Lancer defense and was able to capitalize twice on Brian Lilien. However, the third period was action-packed. Senior Joe Lilien tipped Tal Finberg’s shot into the net to begin the Livingston scoring run. The crowd was in the game now, and so were the players on the ice. Shortly thereafter, Finberg himself scored off of a Lancer face-off win bringing the score level. However, this effort would not be enough to propel Livingston to victory. With four minutes to go, St. Rose snatched the ‘W’ with a goal.
With the devastating loss to St. Rose, the Lancers finished as silver medalists in the tournament. The boys fought hard and improved in their stick skills and teamwork, even as they lacked key players during this vacation time.
“The team played well as a whole,” said Friedfertig. “We won two big games and fought really hard in the third. But, there is always room for improvement.”
Livingston will start off 2014 at Clay Anderson Arena against MKA on Jan. 4.