Sports

Chatham Hockey Upsets Morristown to Win State Title

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Credits: Jack Gill
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Credits: Jack Gill
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Credits: Jack Gill
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Credits: Jack Gill
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Credits: Jack Gill
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Credits: Jack Gill
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Credits: Jack Gill
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Credits: Jack Gill
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Credits: Jack Gill
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Credits: Jack Gill
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Credits: Jack Gill
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NEWARK, NJ- The Chatham Cougars’ miraculous post season run came to a cinderella-esque conclusion Saturday, as the No. 5 Cougars defeated No. 3 Morristown 3-0 to claim their second 2013 NJSIAA Tournament Public B championship in just three years.

Similar to what they have done this entire postseason Chatham relied on their offensive prowess, racking up 28 shots on goal to Morristown’s 14. However, through the first two periods it didn’t matter how many shots Chatham or Morristown took as both the Cougars’ C.J. Albanese and the Colonials’ Shane Brown resembled stone walls in front of the net.

That all changed in the third period when the Cougars finally reached the back of the net. Forward Brett Montgomery was the first, scoring off of the rebound of a Travis Terzer shot.

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“[Terzer] just put the puck on net, right off of [Brown’s] pad,” explained Montgomery. “The rebound popped right out at me, and I was lucky enough to put it home.”

Following Montgomery’s goal Chatham was penalized for too many men on the ice, giving Morristown a power play, and an opportunity to answer with a goal of their own. Any brief momentum Chatham had utterly evaporated, as the thousands of fans in attendance waited eagerly for the much more talented Colonials to take advantage of the Cougars’ careless mistake. It never happened.

Instead of tying it at one apiece, the Colonials were taken back by the aggressive Cougars’ attack. Down a man, Chatham decided to stay on the offensive rather than play a four-man defensive front. The result was a beautiful goal from Brian Leonard, just his second of the season.

“I chipped it out, I looked up and noticed there wasn’t any Morristown kids in front of me,” recounted Leonard. “I got the puck in the high slot…I told myself I was going to shoot a low blocker, and I did, and it ended up in the back of the net.”

A last minute goal from Colby Collier, on an assist from Austin Pierce, finished it off and ended any shot of a Morristown comeback.

Although the Cougars (16-8-3) lost all three prior meetings to the Colonials (17-7-3,) by a combined score of 11-2, they had the upmost confidence coming into Saturday’s matchup.

“We knew we were better. Every single game we knew we were better,” proclaimed Leonard. “All those games were close, they could’ve gone either way. We knew we could play with them, and we knew we could come out there and beat them, and that’s exactly what we did.”

A state championship run which includes upsets over the No. 1 Ramsey and the No. 3 Morristown would be special enough, but this year’s was even more unprecedented and magical due to the fact that the Cougars were led by an entirely new coaching staff, headed by first-year head coach Frank Gilberti. In just his first season Gilberti has developed a special bond with this Cougars’ team that resembles the love a father feels for his children.

“I have no kids, I don’t have kids,” explained Gilberti. “This is the closest I can possibly be to being a proud parent…for us to share this bond for the rest of our lives, that’s why I do this.”

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