MORRISTOWN, NJ - The Sparta Ice Hockey Team produced a sound all-around effort in gaining a 3-0 victory over Mountain Lakes on Monday, improving them to 10-5-2 on the year.
“A shutout in this league is huge. You don’t get too many of them that’s for sure,” said Sparta Head Coach Mike Young.
The Spartans came out aggressive, applying pressure with a sound fore-check early in the first period. Their persistence was rewarded as Eddie Ziegenfuss received a backhand pass from Nick Bartholomew and buried it past the left pad of the Laker goaltender with 8:41 left in the first. Ziegenfuss’ goal was the eventual decisive blow of the contest.
“I chipped it into the zone and Nick [Bartholomew] beat me to the corner, he got the puck and I called for it, he looked up and dished it to me and I put it home,” said Ziegenfuss.
Ziegenfuss’ goal was the first of two on the night for the forward. He has enjoyed success at the Lakers’ expense having scored five goals in the two games the teams have played. According to Ziegenfuss his success against Mountain Lakes is all due to his teammates and the chemistry they have.
“It’s honestly just the people I’m playing with. They really just make everything happen and know where I am,” he added.
Mountain Lakes continued to hang in the game as both teams headed into the second period. The Lakers eventually produced seven of their 12 shots for the game during the second period, but were stonewalled by Spartan goaltender Ryan Bartholomew. Bartholomew finished a perfect 12 for 12 on the night generating his second shutout of the season.
“Ryan’s a sophomore and his heads always in the game,” said Young. “Anytime you play a good team and your goalie comes up with a shutout it inspires the whole team.”
Ryan Bartholomew received a little insurance from a familiar face late in the second period. After being outshot for the majority of the period the Laker defense, playing aggressive to apply additional pressure would falter leaving Nick Bartholomew all alone on a breakaway. Bartholomew’s backhand finish put the Spartans up 2-0 with 4:21 remaining in the second. Bartholomew’s second point of the game gave him 14 in his last five games.
“Their [player] made a bad pass out of the corner and I was able to get it and just get passed the defender,” Bartholomew said.
Sparta continued their dominance in the third where they easily held onto a 2-0 lead. The Spartans proceeded to outshoot Mountain Lakes 13 to zero for the period. As tension boiled over for the Lakers both teams proceeded to frequently visit the penalty box as the referees attempted to maintain order. Eddie Ziegenfuss closed out the third by scoring an empty net goal to finish off the Lakers at 3-0.
“We had a bad habit of giving up games in the third period and we didn’t want that happening in this game so we just came out hard,” said Bartholomew.
Sparta’s victory, while improving them to 10-5-2 on the year, also gives them a critical divisional win. The Spartans continue to remain atop the Halvorsen Division, as they are now unbeaten in their last two games, and winners of three of their last five.
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