MORRISTOWN, N.J. - Madison High School junior hockey player Ryan Hoover is no stranger to being the contributor on offense, but Saturday night he had to do a little more than usual.
“We were without our top guys tonight and I felt I had to step up in order to get us the win,” he said.
Hoover recorded a hat trick as the Dodgers cruised past the Knights of Morris Hills 4-0 at Mennen Arena on Saturday.
Knights senior netminder Adam Katz was hot early, keeping the Dodger offense at bay by turning away a plethora of shots to keep the winless Knights in the game. However, despite his efforts, the Dodgers found the back of the net when junior Adam Graham set Hoover up for his first goal of the game just 2:43 left in the first period.
The Dodgers struck again, almost immediately, after as Hoover recorded his second goal of the night after senior Tommy Meehan found him for the scoring opportunity with 50 seconds left in the period.
The second period started much like the first as the Dodgers continued to bombard Katz with shots. Katz turned away all the shots until the 12:11 mark when sophomore Kyle Midlige scored off a pass from Harrison Meyer to stretch the Dodger lead to 3-0.
The Dodgers ended the period having taken 43 shots, compared to Morris Hills three shots through two periods.
Hoover capped the Dodger scoring with 10:52 left in the game, off a loose puck in front of Katz to finish the hat trick. Graham was credited with his second assist of the game and Michael Gleason was also credited as well.
When the final whistle blew, the Dodgers improved to 6-1 on the season, while the Knights continue to look for their first win of the season and fall to 0-3-2. Katz finished with an impressive 65 saves on the heels of a 74-save performance against Parsippany. Senior Ryan Wilsea saw much less action as his fellow netminder and turned away all seven shots he saw.
Despite the dominance, the Dodgers displayed they still want to play hard.
“Our coach has a saying that we shouldn’t stop playing until the end because it doesn’t look good to play down to the level of weaker competition,” Hoover said.
Dodger Coach Dave Hansen was happy with the win but knows that next game will be a tougher task for his Dodgers.
“I was happy with our offense as we had 69 shots but we will have a much tougher game against Chatham tomorrow,” Hansen said.
The Dodgers return to ice on Sunday when they face Chatham at Codey Arena. Face-off is scheduled for 4:15 p.m.