SCOTCH PLAINS/FANWOOD, NJ - The Scotch Plains-Fanwood Raider Ice Hockey team took on their cross-county rivals, the Cranford Cougars, on December 17 at Warinanco Rink.
The Raiders quickly fell behind the Cougars 2-0 after the first period, but weren’t giving up and tied the game in the second period with goals by junior forward, John Bruckman and senior forward, Eric Hogan. It was a see-saw battle as Cranford went ahead 3-2, but sophomore defenseman John Wilkinson evened it up again at 3-3 with his first goal of the season, before the Cougars scored and took a 4-3 lead into the locker room at the end of the second period.
The Raiders were looking for their first win against Cranford since 2008 going into the third period and senior goalie, Alex Montagna was keeping them in the game, stopping a break-away and several bullets fired by the sharp-shooting Cougars.
Unfortunately, the Cranford goalie was matching Montagna save for save and a deep Cougar bench along with too many Raider penalties were just too much and the third period went all to Cranford. The Cougars wrapped it up with 4 unanswered goals to skate away with an 8-3 win. The Raiders are now 1-1-1 in the middle of the Union County Ice Hockey League and 1-3-1 overall.
The Raiders hope to get a couple of wins with upcoming non-league games against Colonia, Ocean Township and Monroe before taking on Summit on Jan 3rd. The Hilltoppers are ranked #6 in the state this year with their only defeat at the hands of last year’s state champs, Randolph. For more information and schedules go to www.leaguelineup.com/spficehockey. Follow the Raiders in the Union County Ice Hockey League and overall, along with all New Jersey high school hockey on www.njhockey.org