OLD BRIDGE, N.J. - The Livingston hockey team knew they would have a challenge when they put Old Bridge on their schedule.
On Wednesday afternoon, the Lancers saw just how tough a challenge the Knights would be, as Livingston lost 3-1 on the road.
"Losses happen," Livingston head coach Dave Conklin said. "What you have to do is take something positive out of it and move forward, learn from our mistakes. When your playing good teams, you can't take five or six minutes off in a period. You can't allow teams to dictate the play. I think what we learned is we have to come out and play 45 minutes of every game."
The Lancers and Knights played to a 0-0 tie after the first period. While the scoreboard saw the game as even, on the ice, Old Bridge controlled the first 15 minutes. The Knights set the pace for the game, having their way with the puck for the entire period.
"We were a little laxidasical in the first period," Conklin said. "We let them dictate the pace of the game."
Old Bridge finally broke through less than five minutes into the second period when a shot from the point was deflected into the net by Dan Sech.
The Lancers had several chances in the minutes following the Knights' goal. Jonny Garfinkel had the best chance, but his shot off a rebound hit off the goalie's chest.
The game went into the third period with Old Bridge ahead 1-0. With 11:00 to play in the game, Livingston's Seth Crocket broke free down the left side of the ice, but his shot also went into the goalie's chest.
The Knights broke through again less than three minutes later. Peter Krzewinski put a shot on goal for Old Bridge, despite the initial save being made by Lancer goalie Brian Lilien, the puck caromed off a Livingston defender and into the net.
"That stuff happens when your in front sometimes," Conklin said. "Its tough. It doesn't make you feel any better that we put the second goal in our self. I thought we had a lot of good chances, we just didn't capitalize on our own."
Later in the period, Crockett had a second chance to break the shutout, but his shot on a brief 3-on-1 hit off the cross bar.
With just over a minute to play, the Lancers finally found the back of the net when Garfinkel put a shot over the should of Old Bridge's goalie.
After pulling their own goalie, Livingston could not break through on the Knights' defense and allowed the game clinching open net goal in the final 16 seconds of regulation.
Livingston's record dropped to 10-3-2 on the year. Conklin said there is a lot to learn from this loss that can be used to make the team better.
"I think what we learned is we have to come out and play 45 minutes of every game," he said. "We have to take advantage of opportunities when we have them. We had pucks right in front with wide open nets, and we had guys that just weren't banging them in. We had our chances and have to take away that we have to play 45 minutes a game."
The Lancers return to the ice on Saturday when they face Verona at Codey Arena.