RANDOLPH, NJ- Despite all the regular season and state playoff success the Randolph hockey team has enjoyed in recent years, the Mennen Cup continues to elude them. Since last winning the Cup in 2008, the Rams have played in five straight state championship games and won four. After a 5-1 loss to Morrsitown Beard in this years’ semi’s, the Rams will look to rest up and focus on another state playoff run.
Coach John McLaughlin was not pleased with the effort, stating “We have to come up with a better effort than we did tonight. We can’t give up five goals, we don’t have the fire power to give up that many.”
The game started well for Randolph as the Rams controlled play early, getting the cycle game going down low and keeping the puck in the offensive zone. Morristown Beard finally got control of the puck, and on a routine breakout, forward Chris Brunner-Grande took the Crimson’s first shot on goal and he made it count. He carried the puck up the right wing boards and over the blue line, firing a wrister that beat Rams goalie Andrew Howloko high on the stick side to go up 1-0 five and a half minutes in.
The Rams were surprised by the goal, but answered quickly. Jack Zimmer dumped the puck in behind the Mo-Beard net where Chris Holowko gave chase and beat the Beard defensemen to the puck. He fed it out front to Dan Janson who ripped a one timer from the high slot into the net to tie the game at 2. Randolph continued to dictate play and the first ended in a tie with the Rams outshooting Beard 7-4.
On the first period, Rams coach McLaughlin commented “We had a good first period, but it didn’t carry over. You have to play three full periods, if you don’t you won’t win.
The second saw sloppy play from Randolph, as the Crimson dominated the period. The Rams had three players end up in the box and spent the whole period trying to protect their goal as they were outshot 11-1. Mo-Beard finally capitalized with 2 minutes left in the period, as Thomas Rago crashed the net and beat the Rams to a rebound to make it 2-1 Crimson.
The third didn’t get any better, as the Rams forecheck was negated by the Crimson defense’s ability to control the puck and move it out of their zone making long accurate passes. It was a big change from Monday night when the Rams forwards hammered the knolls defensmen all night creating chaos in the offensive end. Morristown Beard was quicker to the puck and moved it out of their zone with relative ease.
After an early Crimson goal by Mike Meisenbacher, the parade to the penalty box picked up for both teams. Although both teams got physical and took penalties, Mo Beard seemed to remain in control and capitalized, with Rago getting his second of the game to make it 4-1, and Alex Borowiec rounding out the game with the final goal.
McLaughlin summed up the game’s end stating “Mo-Beard has lots of fire power, if you make mistakes they will score goals. I thought both teams looked tired in the third; it was a horrible third period, we looked really tired.
Randolph plays next in the state playoffs, beginning next week. Game info TBA