MORRISTOWN, NJ - Ridge scored both its goals in the second period and held on for a 2-1 ice hockey victory over Watchung Hills to win its first state championship in nine years in the NJSIAA Public A final Sunday night at Mennen Arena.
Connor Villa and John Vilade scored the goals for the second-seeded Red Devils, who defeated Skyland Conference rival Watchung Hills for the second time in three meetings this season. The two teams also skated to a 3-3 tie during the regular season. Watchung Hills was seeded 13th in Public A.
Ridge (23-6-1) had a 9-7 advantage in shots during a scoreless first period, when each team killed off one power play by the other. The game remained scoreless until 12:30 of the second period, when Brett Carey made a long pass from the defensive zone to Villa, who converted the helper for a goal that gave Ridge a 1-0 advantage.
With 4:44 to go in the second, Jack Mandala found Vilade in the slot and Vilade finished the play with a goal for a 2-0 Red Devils lead. Ridge killed one penalty in the second period and then another early in the third before Watchung Hills (13-7-6) finally converted on another power play.
With 6:23 left, Mike Piro took a pass from Mike Brady on a breakaway and scored to bring the Warriors back to within one goal, 2-1.
Ridge finished with a 26-19 advantage in shots on goal in a battle between two standout goalies, Chris Ambrozy of the Red Devils and Ryan McHugh of Watchung Hills.