UNION, NJ – Coming off a win Wednesday night, the Governor Livingston Highlanders dominated the ice against the Brick Memorial Mustangs, resulting in a 5-1 win at the Union Sports Arena on Friday night.
Leading the charge was senior co-captain, Danny Kramer, who, at the end of the night, walked off the ice with a hat trick.
“It’s a great feeling, I couldn’t have done it without my teammates. Everyone on the ice helped me out,” said Kramer.
Recognized as a key player by assistant coach Michael Crisctello, Kramer “has brought a spark” to the team.
As the game commenced, the Highlanders attacked first; after the Mustangs were issued a penalty and down a man. Thirty seconds into the power play, Kramer slapped the puck past Brick Memorial goaltender Andrew Slobisla, assisted by Carson Wahlers and Ryan Erickson.
With 2:15 left in the first period, the Mustangs were once again issued a penalty, giving Gov. Livingston the advantage. However, the Highlanders were unable to sink the puck into the back of the net, with the score staying 1-0 at the end of the first period.
The majority of the second period consisted of back-and-forth play, full of possible openings, especially when a plethora of Highlanders rushed the Mustang goalie at the 3:30 mark. Yet, neither team was able to take advantage of these opportunities until 0:45 remained in the period.
Kramer saw a chance and took it. As the puck glided over the ice from Zach Miller, Kramer, from his knees, stretched out and thrust the puck into the goal. He ended splayed out on his stomach, but was quick to rise and celebrate with his teammates. Before the puck dropped again, chants of “Danny Kramer!” filled the rink. The Highlanders kept the score 2-0 as the second period came to a close.
Going into the third period, “Our boys knew the job wasn’t done, we just had to really control our defensive zone coverage, and we knew that opportunities are created from that,” Crisctello said.
Brick Memorial opened the third period with a goal from Matt McDermitt at 13:23, assisted by Griffin DuBlois and Logan O’Donnell. However, Cole Wahlers, with assists from Kyle and Carson Wahlers, blasted the puck past Slobisla with 7:34 remaining.
With less than 3:30 left in the final period, tensions rose as Kyle Wahlers and Justin Davis became locked together on the ice after Davis slammed Wahlers into the boards. Davis was charged with unsportsmanlike conduct and boarding, leaving the Brick Memorial Mustangs down a man for the rest of the game. Wahlers was also charged with unsportsmanlike conduct, but the name “Kyle Wahlers” echoed throughout the rink, cushioning it in sound. As Davis and Wahlers served their penalties, a power play took place on the rink, but no headway was made on either side.
The last minute of the game was crammed with action, starting with the arena singing “Happy Birthday” to Danny Kramer; as he turned 18 on Friday. Fifteen seconds after play started up again, Miller scored, assisted by Erickson and Robert Monroy. Add another fifteen seconds, and Kramer netted his third and final goal of the evening, flicking the puck past Mustang goalie Slobisla with an assist from Miller.
“There was a lot of emotion on there [the ice]. We just wanted to come out with a win,” Kramer revealed. “We wanted to show the other team that we were really something.”
Brick Memorial goaltender Andrew Slobisla made 37 saves on 42 shots for the Mustangs.
Governor Livingston goaltender Nick Papa made 22 saves on 23 shots for the Highlanders.
“The boys were focused from the start, right from the first period, and they knew that they couldn’t let one second up on the clock before ending the game,” said Crisctello.
The Brick Memorial Mustangs (3-9-3) hope to bounce back from this loss on Tuesday, January 17, as they play Toms River East at 4:00pm at home.
The Governor Livingston Highlanders (6-7-1) step onto the ice again on Monday, January 16 at 4:15pm at an away game against Millburn at South Mountain Arena.