HACKENSACK, NJ – Considering how Chatham started its ice hockey season under new head coach, Brendon Herr, the Cougars were undoubtedly on the rise entering the third round of the state tournament.
State tournament victories over Millburn and Wall set up the Cougars against No. 2 seed Glen Rock on Sunday.
But No. 7 seed Chatham was defeated by Glen Rock, 6-1, at the Icehouse Rink in the state tournament quarterfinals, eliminating Chatham (10-13-2) from the NJSIAA Public B Tournament.
Despite the loss, Chatham showed promise of what might be next season with a 9-8-2 finish after a 1-5 start.
“Give credit to our guys for buying in and for making it to the third round of the state playoffs this year,” Herr said.
Glen Rock (22-2-3) received big performances from Justin Rosario and Jake Kinney, as each put up 4 points. Rosario scored 2 goals and added 2 assists while Kinney scored 1 goal and added 3 assists. Tom LaMacchia, Peter Cassidy, and Colin Morrow added the other 3 goals.
Glen Rock goaltender Matt Rosario also had a good game in net, stopping 19 out of 20 shots.
The game was a tough physical battle highlighted by a lot of big hits. Both teams played extremely hard and left everything on the ice.
“They’re a well-coached team and they play a disciplined style of hockey,” Herr said. “They’re much more physical then teams we’ve played all year and I think that put us back on our heels a little bit to start the game.”
Glen Rock started fast and scored a power play goal 2:34 into the game to jump out to an early lead. They added two more goals with less than a minute to play in the first period to push the lead to 3-0.
Chatham played well in the second period, holding Glen Rock scoreless and cutting the deficit to 3-1. Mark McNally scored a power play 6:42 into the period after a great pass from Austin Pierce. McNally’s goal and Pierce’s assist were Chatham’s only points of the night.
“I think we did a good job coming out there in the second period, popping a goal in, and making it a tight game,” Herr said.
Chatham went into the third period down 3-1, looking to fight their way back. They went on a power play 3:14 into the period, but they couldn’t capitalize and cut the lead despite a couple close shots.
Glen Rock would add three more goals at the end of the third period, pushing their lead to 6-1, all but icing the game.
Glen Rock will play the winner of No. 3 seed Lakeland and No. 6 seed Mahwah in the semi-finals at Mennen Sports Arena, Thursday, March 3.
Chatham’s season is now over, but they have a lot to be excited about looking to the future. They showed that they can play well against top-ranked teams, and their first-year coach, Herr, showed the system he put in place has taken hold.