WEST ORANGE, NJ - With a week off, the Livingston varsity ice hockey team had plenty of time to prepare for tonight's game against Verona-Glen Ridge, and it paid off, as the Lancers went on to shutout the Hillbillies by the score of 4-0.
Early in the first period, the Lancers got on top, and never looked back. Captain and senior defenseman Ben Arden skated through the entire defense, and finally let it go to Cameron Friedfertig to score the first goal of the game.
The Lancers controlled most of the game, shooting from all different angles, especially ending the first period. However, none of those opportunites went in during their outburst of shots to end the opening period.
After gaining momentum at the end of the first period, senior forward Seth Crockett opened the second period skating into the Hillbillies zone. As he placed the puck further into the zone, he was looking for a rebound and a miscue, and got just that. The puck hit the left post and trickled in.
"I used the defender as a screen," Crockett said. "I shot it purposely around him at the net."
Later in the second period, with just 2:51 remaining, the Lancers were awarded a power play. A minute into the man advantage,, the Lancers assistant captain and defensemen, Jonny Garfinkel found a wide open Crockett right at the net. Crockett finished the play with a goal, giving Livingston a 3-0 lead.
"Jonny made an amazing pass," Crockett said. "He had me wide open. It was a phenomenal pass."
In the third period, Tyler Kruse tacked on the fourth and final goal of the game, as he continued to jab at a loose puck in front of the net, managing to get it passed Verona-Glen Ridge's goalie.
Brian Lillien had only 16 saves in the game, for his first shut out of the season, making several sprawling saves in the process.
"I'm really happy for Brian," Arden said. "He played really well. I know I say this a lot, but he gives us a chance to win every game. We're happy to give him the shutout."
Aside from Lillien's strong play between the pipes, the defense never allowed Verona to get any good looks from the center of the ice.
"The key thing was keeping their forwards outside," junior defenseman Cole Friedfertig said. "We kept shots out of the middle."
The Lancers allowed just 16 shots, compared to their 38.
"We for-checked really well tonight and kept the pressure on all game long," senior forward Cameron Friedfertig said.
Although the Lancers dominated most of the game, they still believe there is room for improvement; however, tonight's game was a major confidence booster.
"We can go a lot further than that," Lilien said. "We're starting to realize we can do something this year."
They're going to have to keep up that level of play tomorrow when they return to the ice on Saturday at 3 p.m. against West Orange at the Codey Arena at South Mountain.