UNION, NJ - It looked like it was going to be an easy night for the Chatham ice hockey team.
Teddy Simson scored after a feed from Trip Burke in the first 30 seconds of the game against Scotch Plains-Fanwood on Saturday night in an independent game at the Union Sports Arena in Union.
With that quick goal that made it a 1-0 Cougars lead, it looked like it was going to be a short night for Chatham.
But that would not be the case as the Cougars forwards were stoned several times by Raiders junior goalie Jason Breit while also hitting the post a couple of times.
The Cougars would go on to win 3-0, but Chatham dominated on the ice by outshooting Scotch Plains, 37-16. Bryan Casey and Robert Graziano added a goal each in the second period for Chatham. C.J. Albanese registered the shutout in goal for the Cougars.
"We knew that if we kept putting on the pressure that the goals would come," said Burke, a senior captain about the talk between first and second periods.The Cougars were only ahead 1-0 after the first period.
Despite being a heavy favorite against Scotch Plains, Burke said that they were not looking past the Raiders. "Every time we go on the ice we are treating every team with respect," said Burke.
The victory allowed Chatham to raise its record to 11-6-1 while Scotch Plains dropped to 7-7-1 on the season. The Cougars have a tough match-up on Tuesday against Morris Knolls at 8 p.m. "There are definitely some big games coming up," said Burke pointing to Morris Knolls and also Randolph on Feb. 2.
The Raiders have a key Union County contest with Summit tonight (Sunday) at 6:40 p.m.
Scotch Plains head coach Matt Gualtieri said he liked how his team played, especially defensively. "We knew that they are a very fast team and we had to handle that defensively," said Gualtieri who added that he would have liked some more work on the offensive end.
He added that he could not have been happier with the work of Breit in goal. "That's the type of effort that we want to see from him every night," said Gualtieri. "He had a great game in goal."
After taking a 1-0 lead after the first period, Chatham's offense appeared to be getting going. Casey picked up the puck just outside the blue line and drove toward Breit and went around the Scotch Plains defense and slipped a shot by the Raiders goalie for a 2-0 lead, five minutes into the period.
And Burke appeared to make a three-goal lead about 90 seconds later, but Breit used his entire body to make a save on a Burke shot to keep Scotch Plains in the game.
With Scotch Plains' Tyler Hardgrove in the penalty box, Chatham continued to put the pressure on Breit and the junior goalie continued to swat away the chances.
With the final seconds ticking away on the power play, Graziano took a slap shot at the left point and it sailed by Breit for a 3-0 lead.
In the third period the Cougars had several chances including Simson hitting the left post with eight minutes left in the game.
Scotch Plains had its best chances to end the shutout with four minutes remaining in the game with a power play. Albanese was able to keep the shutout intact.
Chatham ice hockey schedule
(Games at Mennen Sports Arena unless noted)
Jan. 24 at Morris Knolls, 8 p.m.
Feb. 2 at Randolph, 6:15 p.m.
Feb. 4 Middletown High School North, Union Sports Arena, 6:20 p.m.
Feb. 7 Kinnelon, 8 p.m.
Feb. 10 at Robbinsville, Iceland Rink, Hamilton, 6 p.m.
Feb. 20 Tournament, TBA
Scotch Plains-Fanwood ice hockey schedule
Jan. 22 Summit, Union Sports Arena, 6:40 p.m.
Jan. 25 Governor Livingston, Union Sports Arena, 5 p.m.
Jan. 29 Cranford, The Rock Ice Center, Dunellen, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 30 Johnson, Warinanco Park, 8:30 p.m.
Feb. 1 at Johnson, Warinanco Park, 6 p.m.
Feb. 10 at Summit, Union Sports Arena, 4:10 p.m.