NEWARK, NJ- Governor Livingston came up short in a hard fought game against Manalapan on Saturday. The two teams squared off at the New Jersey Devils practice rink, the RWJBarnabas Health Hockey House.
GL lost the game by a final score of 6-4. The game was evenly matched throughout the three periods with many chances for both teams. The Highlanders were the first team on the board when Zach Miller slipped a seam pass over to Carson Wahlers for a wicked wrist shot and power play goal halfway through the first period. GL continued to capitalize on the power play for the rest of the game, scoring all four of their goals when they were a man up.
Manalapan scored two goals for themselves before the end of the period including a highlight reel goal from Nick Ciricillo. Ciricillo stick handled around the GL defense and beat Highlander goalie Nick Papa one-on-one. The second period began with a carryover 5-on-3 power play for Manalapan. GL killed off the first of the penalties, but were unable to stave off the continued pressure of the 5-on-4 when Manalapan struck to extend their lead by two.
The Highlanders took advantage of a power play of their own soon after. Brian Gray potted his first goal of the game off a deflection in front of the Manalapan goal. GL's strong power play flourished in the second period. Undisciplined play from Manalapan led to a short 5-on-3 for the Highlanders after Ryan Marsala was penalized with a ten minute misconduct and a double minor while the Braves were already on the kill. GL didn't capitalize on the two man advantage, but struck twice during the extended power play. Gray buried another goal, and Wahlers fired a laser from the center of the offensive zone for a 4-3 GL lead going into the third period. T
he Braves weren't finished though. Ciricillo tallied another goal to tie the game halfway through the third period, and less than 20 seconds later a deflection off a point shot gave Manalapan the lead. GL pressured the Braves heavily, but they couldn't find the back of the net in the third period. Manalapan would add an empty net goal to seal the game with a minute left.
GL coach Matt Anderson was unhappy about the Highlanders 5-on-5 play, but he praised the power play. "The power play was good, worked on that a lot in practice, and we executed that nicely," Anderson said after the game, "But, overall we're still not doing the little things it takes to win hockey games."
The Highlanders enter the new year looking for their second win of the season when they host Westfield on January 3rd at 8:45 p.m.