WEST ORANGE, NJ – In their third game in five days, the Livingston Lancers took to the ice at Richard J. Codey Arena on Friday night looking to finish off the week in perfection. However, the team knew that this wouldn’t be an easy task against the strong Nutley Raiders. The two teams met twice last year, with the Raiders taking the early season game, and the Lancers claiming victory in overtime during the semi-final matchup of the McInnis Cup tournament.
The first period was full of scoring chances on both sides of the ice. Senior Tal Finberg led the Lancers with shots on goal, but was unable to capitalize on any as Nutley goalie Joe Hoarle proved to be a force in net. Finberg was able to deke defenders out of position; however once he got into open space, another Raider player was there to stop him. After a long Nutley possession late in the first period, Matt Basile was able to put the puck past goaltender Brian Lilien, ending the period with a one-goal Raider lead.
After a slow start, the Lancers dominated the second stanza. Although Nutley scored first this period, making it a two-goal game, the Lancers possessed the puck well allowing David Reiter and Tal Finberg to get the score even with Minkyu Yang assisting one of the two goals. The defense also stepped up nicely,
“We showed that we could play with them,” said net-minder Brian Lilien. “In the second [period] we held them to only five shots.”
Heading into the third period with the score tied at two, tension was high and the fans and players were ready for an exciting finish.
The third period opened with an early Nutley goal by Danny Render. In true Lancer fashion, Livingston answered quickly with a slap-shot, power-play goal from Captain Cole Friedfertig, assisted by Jared Appelbaum. However, this electrifying goal was not enough to get keep the Lancers in the game. Render scored once more, pushing the Raiders to a one-goal lead. Livingston had no choice late in the game but to pull Lilien from net to allow for an extra skater on the ice. Nutley took full advantage of the empty net and slipped the puck past the Lancer defenders to seal the game.
Both goalies left the game with a very high 88% save percentage. Joe Hoarle of the Raiders saved the puck 23 times and Lilien stopped 31 shots.
“We played hard, but made simple mistakes that gave them a lot of extra opportunities,” said Livingston coach Dave Conklin. “We were unable to get the puck out of our end at times and that gave them second and third chances to score.”
The 4-2-1 Lancers will play again tonight at Richard J. Codey Arena, where the Lilien twins will face the team their father coaches, the Verona Hillbillies.