MORRIS TOWNSHIP, NJ - Perhaps, the Chatham boys ice hockey team was looking ahead to its matchup against state-ranked Randolph on Wednesday. After all, the last time Chatham and Vernon met on the ice, the Cougars rolled to a six-goal win in December.
The bottom line is that Chatham got the job done on Monday afternoon with a 3-1 win over Vernon that wasn't clinched until late in the third period at the Mennen Sports Arena.
"It's always tough playing a team the second time, especially after the first game we had against them," Chatham coach Brendon Herr said. "We said before the game, it's a team that if you keep them around, one bad bounce can go against you. I thought Will Ewald made some really big saves to get us out of some tight situations. He kept it 2-1. He had a really strong game. He looked great."
Goalie Will Ewald and forward Ryan Sordillo talk about the win
Ewald earned his win in the third period when he made the save on Vernon's bid for a short-handed goal that would have tied the game. Ryan Sordillo finally put in the clincher for Chatham (8-3-2) when he deked his way to a goal (see below) with 4:37 left. Ronan Curry was credited with the assist.
"We need to start a little bit quicker, especially against teams like this," Herr said. "We weren't finishing rebounds. We got our first goal on a tip, which is great, but we have to do a better job of finishing our chances in front."
The Cougars took a 1-0 lead 13:01 into the first period when senior Ryan Mancino tipped in a shot (see below) from the point by senior defenseman Gabe Park.
Chatham pushed its lead to 2-0 in the second period when Brandon Lupi knocked in a cross-ice pass from Tommy Sennett (see below). Vernon (6-8) cut its deficit a minute later on a goal by Ayden Steinbach.