WEST ORANGE, NJ — In a hard-fought contest on Monday night, the Livingston and Verona/Glen Ridge (VGR) ice hockey teams played to a 1-1 tie.
“It’s very disappointing…I don’t think we put in the effort,” said Livingston head coach David Conklin. “Unfortunately, the momentum of the game was dictated by all the penalties, when you have 17 penalties in a game it takes away from anything that you can do.”
With six penalties in the first period, Livingston was the first to contribute to a combined 60 minutes of penalties between the two teams.
VGR got the scoring started early in the first period of what the team felt was a game to prove they can hang with the Lancers. Jake Kuhn scored on a two-on-one 62 seconds into the contest for the early VGR lead.
“In a game like this, when you know it’s going to be a one goal game that first goal is everything from a confidence standpoint…getting that jump definitely lifted up our boys,” said VGR head coach Ken Lilien.
VGR continued to mount an offensive into the second period, looking for a crucial insurance goal. Those efforts were stonewalled by Lancers goaltender Matt Delseni, who finished with an unofficial 22 saves on the night and has allowed only one goal in his last 90 minutes of play.
“[Delseni] made some nice saves, he’s been doing a good job,” said Conklin.
Livingston refused to lose, however battling back midway through the second period. Ultimately, penalties, which befell to both teams, would benefit the Lancers on this occasion.
Greg Rocheville found the back of the net off a deflection on the power play to tie the game at one with 7:11 remaining in the second period.
The Lancers proceeded to capitalize off of their momentum for the remainder of the second period and into the third. Livingston proceeded to dominate the third period outshooting VGR 13-3 for the frame, but failed to put another past VGR goalie Colin Gilmore. Gilmore finished with 27 saves on the evening.
“Just seeing how calm [Gilmore] was out there I think relaxed the team,” said Lilien. “He just looked like he was calm and comfortable with his job.”
For the VGR team, the tie is an acceptable outcome, as the team feels the Lancers are supremely talented and one of the state’s best teams. VGR improves to 2-1-3 on the season with the next game against Cranford to be held on Dec. 16.
“I’m happy because that was our first real hockey game,” said Lilien. “I’m not satisfied with tying, we said nobody outside our locker room thought that we could play with this team and we knew we could…I am satisfied with our compete level for 45 minutes.”
Livingston’s record improves to 1-1-2, as the squad is unbeaten in its last two contests. Despite the tie, the squad will need to reduce mental mistakes with a gauntlet of tough opponents on the horizon.
“We have one of the toughest schedules in the state of New Jersey and we’ve got some tough games coming up and we have to right the ship,” said Conklin.
The Lancers will look to continue their unbeaten streak as they take on Bridgewater Raritan on Dec. 18.