December 26, 2013 at 6:50 AM
LIVINGSTON, NJ- There’s no doubt that the Livingston varsity hockey team has some unfinished business heading into the 2013-2014 season.
Last season, the Lancers took the state by surprise by making it to the state semifinals against Bridgewater-Raritan. With a sold out Codey Arena on hand, the Lancers saw their run come to an end in heartbreaking fashion, losing 3-2.
However, it’s not going to be easy getting back there. The team lost three of its top-four defenseman from last year including all-state player and captain Jonny Garfinkel. The team also lost three of its top-six forwards. Nevertheless, the coaches still expect a lot of out this year’s squad.
“Coaches Conklin and Niznik prepare us for every situation,” said junior assistant captain David Reiter. “It is these little things that will make us a great team.”
Reiter also does not expect to see a drop off in quality.
“The guys last year were a special group of guys that contributed significantly to the team,” he said. “Other people will have to step up and take their spots.
Along with Reiter, star player Tal Finberg and skilled junior Josh Delsini will be expected to lead the forward group. Sophomores Phil Edelman and Ryan Dallow will also be expected to assume the vacant defensive positions. The back line will have experience though, led by senior captain Cole Friedfertig. A mainstay in net the past three years and arguably the team’s most important player, senior goalie Brian Lilien will need to make some key saves if the team wants to have similar success to last year.
With new faces in prominent roles, the team needs to work even harder this year to get to where they want to be.
“Everyone on the team has been putting in the hard work necessary to succeed at this level,” Friedfertig said. “This team has the desire to win a lot of games.”
Regardless of the new roles different players are going to be thrust into, the team still expects to win.
“Team goals are a conference and state championship,” Friedfertig said. “We have the will and determination and we will not settle for less than that.”
With a 4-3-1 record already this season, the team’s next game is on Fri., Dec. 27 vs. Steinert at Codey Arena in West Orange.