UNION, NJ - The Chatham Cougars scored two goals in the first period, three in the second and two more in the third, and left winger Danny Casey recorded his first hat trick of the season, as the Cougars defeated a previously undefeated Cranford team 7-3 on Saturday night at Union Sports Arena.
The Cougars were down 1-0 midway through the first period, after surrendering an early score to Cranford.
However, Casey quickly evened things up with his first goal of the game. He gobbled up the puck near center ice and skated towards the Cranford net on a breakaway try. He made a nice deke move and put the puck in the back of the goal to even things up at one a piece.
Casey also scored the next goal of the game at the 2:37 mark of the first period, putting the Cougars ahead 2-1. He received a nice pass from Trip Burke, who was behind the Cranford net and buried a shot into the goal from about a foot away.
"Burke came down wide and threw it toward the net. It squirted out and came to me. I just kind of put it in," Casey said of his second goal.
The second period saw some exciting back and forth action. The Cougars scored three goals in a span of just over four minutes. Casey completed his hat trick at the 6:23 mark of that period when he blasted a shot into the goal off a pass from teammate Alex Rauter.
"Their team was collapsing down low. Me and Alex were able to work it down around their goal all night," Casey said. "Our offense is pretty stellar."
Coming into the third period, the Cougars were up 5-3 and looked to break the game wide open. They were able to do so when Jake Herendeen scored on a breakaway at the 7:46 mark of the third period. He received a pass as he was streaking into the Cranford zone and put the puck in between goaltender Trevor Hertz's legs.
Rauter scored the final goal of the game for the Cougars off a slap shot from the left circle. That made the score 7-3 with just over four minutes to play.
"I liked the third period. We played better defensively and did not give up any goals," Cougars' Head Coach Harvey Cohen said. "It was a little bit wide open in the first two periods."
The Cougars dominated play for much of the game, and if not for some good saves from Hertz, the score could have been more lopsided. The Cougars finished with 34 shots on goal and gave up only 18 tries to Cranford.
With the win, the Cougars improved to 3-0-1 on their season. They will look to continue their undefeated season when they face off against Pingry High School on December 16th, at Bridgewater Sports Arena at 4:30 p.m.