UNION, NJ - It didn't take long for Hilltopper fans to get behind their boys ice hockey team as Summit skated past Governor Livingston by a score of 4-2 on Saturday night.
With both teams having a slow start in the first period, the Summit Hilltoppers and the Gov. Liviginston Highlanders took to the ice with a vengeance at the Union Sports Arena in Union. It was clear from the start that both teams wanted to play hard instead of simply icing the puck all of the time. Most of the first period was a back and forth see-saw match as the teams wanted to size each other up. Three quick goals were scored in the match as the teams took animosity and hard playing into the locker rooms.
Summit took the early lead in the game but lost a little ground to the Highlanders as the came back in the second period to make it a closer match. Intensity in the game reached a high point when the Hilltoppers crashed the net on a loose puck and buried one past the Highlanders' netminder. #10 for the Hilltoppers was credited with the goal as Summit took a 4-2 lead with 24.8 seconds left in the second period. Gov. Livingston's goalie was not a solid force in net for most of the night. His game play was very loose and he spent most of the rebounds on the ice flopping around. Summit took advantage of his awkwardness as they scored four goals on him before the end of the second period.
Summit also appeared to have better scoring chances in the second period than in the first. More passes and set up shots were on tap for Summit, which wanted to play aggressively as the second period came to a close. As the teams headed to the locker rooms for the second intermission, the tension was mounting and the crowd felt it.
As the start of the third period opened up, Governor Livingston came out extremely aggressively and started checking as soon as the puck dropped. Summit answered right back with nice checking against the boards and killing a big penalty halfway through the third period. Summit was called for another penalty a few minutes later that almost cost them the game as the power play turned out a shot off the post. In the second period, Governor Livingston registered almost twice the amount of shots than in the first period.
One force that Summit had to contain was the double team checking the Highlanders turned on in the last minutes of the game. Every play seemed to resemble a wrestling match as Highlander defenseman swarmed the puck at both ends of the ice. Double teaming the players caught Summit off guard for a minute but they woke up just in time to shut down the Highlanders' aggressive play. As the last shot came across Summit's defensive zone, the game ended with a score of 4-2.
A highlight for the Hilltoppers was their excellent goaltending. Brandon Jackson # 25, did an amazing job in net. His saves were solid and he didn't appear to be all over the ice, which helped his team out in the end.
Tim Jager, #17, played forward for the Hilltoppers and spoke about his game play on Saturday. "I had a couple of bad games but I went all out today and got the first goal and I think as a team we played really well," said Jager. "It's not a one man effort; it's a whole team effort and we played three lines, with 6 defensemen and out goalie played amazing."
Bobby Lawrence, center # 16, also for Summit, talked about his team's win. "I got two goals and an assist, forechecked hard and to the body," said Lawrence. "That was our main goal before the game. Get in the corners, play dirty and throw it toward the net."