MORRIS TOWNSHIP, NJ - Randolph "took time and space away" from the Chatham boys ice hockey team. Then the Rams took the game.
Randolph, the No. 10 ranked team in the state according to NJ.com, used a fast start to overwhelm Chatham, 5-0, on Wednesday at Mennen Sports Arena.
"They took our time and space away from our top lines," Chatham coach Brendon Herr said. "We have to start faster, especially against a team like this. We didn't match their intensity. They're always ready to play."
Chatham (8-4-2) got off a shot in the opening seconds before Randolph (12-2-2) took over the game and seemed to control the puck at every turn. A relentless attack by the Rams resulted in goals by Nick Gallo, Evan Xhumba and Kyle Barbera in the first eight minutes of action.
When Ben Yurchuk stuffed home a power-play goal 11:40 into the first period for a 4-0 lead, the Rams held a 14-1 shot advantage. Chatham starting goalie Jen Olnowich made 10 saves before senior goalie Will Ewald came on to make 32 saves the rest of the way for Chatham, allowing a goal late in the third period.
"We didn't really have a sense of urgency in the beginning of the game," Chatham forward Ryan Sordillo said. "We dug ourselves quite a hole and we couldn't get out of it."
Chatham made a bid to break up the shutout in the third period
"Against a team this skilled, we didn't come to play," Herr said. "They were quicker than us on pucks.
"We started to work hard in the second period and we played well. I thought our best period was the second period. They're a team that limits shots. We have to do a better job of finding ways to get pucks to the net."
COUGAR NOTES: Chatham has been shut out twice this season and both have come against Randolph, which blanked the Cougars, 2-0, on Dec. 20 ... Senior defenseman Danny Mahoney was sick and did not dress for the game. The Cougars are hoping to get back senior defenseman Quinn Kelly (meniscus) back on the ice for their game against Morris Knolls on Monday at Mennen.