BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - The Gov. Livingston varsity hockey team split its opening week of  regular season games with a 3-0 loss to Scotch Plains and skated to a 4-0 victory Tuesday against Newark East Side.

Senior JP Blasch was first to score, giving Gov. Livingston the early lead against Newark East Side. Goals followed by Ryan Findeisen, Danny Kramer and a second goal by Blasch to seal the 4-0 victory. Goalie Matt Altomare earned the shutout with 17 saves.  

"Sophomore goalie Matt Altomare has been an absolute standout performer in the first two games, and I am expecting very big things from him in the years to come," said Coach Matt Anderson.  

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This is Anderson's first season as head hockey coach for Gov. Livingston. Coming from the Seton Hall Prep varsity hockey staff, Anderson brings many years of coaching experience to the program.  He is dedicated to working with the team and to build Gov. Livingston's program and the pipeline of future players.

"We lost six seniors from last year and gained only three freshman skaters to replace them," said Anderson of the challenge his team faces this season.  "We began the year with only eleven skaters and a single goalie, while most team dress 20 players for games, and hold Varsity and JV Programs with 50+ student-athletes."

"In the face of adversity, they have not backed down and they have tried their best to give everything the coaching staff has asked of them. They are learning that a strategic and determined approach to each and every practice and game is the only chance they have to compete in some very tough county match-ups.," said Anderson with the utmost respect for his players.

Anderson is excited of the growing pipeline of young hockey players in Berkeley Heights. For the first time, Berkeley Heights has a middle school team (grades 5-8) competing in a league of top hockey towns like Westfield, Summit and Ridge.  

The depth of the pipeline includes a Berkeley Heights Mite level team (ages 5 to 8) that plays at Union Sports Arena. "To know that we have a group of over fifteen 2nd graders from Berkeley Heights, already playing hockey at a competitive level, shows how far the Heights Youth Program has come in a short period of time," said Anderson. "It has been extremely encouraging to see that the future looks good for the hockey program." 

Gov. Livingston will face Jonathan Dayton at Union Sports Arena, Friday, Dec. 6. Puck drops at 9:10 p.m.