MORRISTOWN, NJ — The Livingston High School ice hockey team had its postseason hopes come to a crashing halt at the hands of Randolph in a 5-0 state semifinal matchup on Wednesday evening, ending a solid Lancers season in the process.
“It’s sad,” said Livingston head coach Dave Conklin. “We were outplayed, we were out-coached and it’s disappointing [because] we never want to end the year on a loss.”
Randolph took control from the opening while dominating the play in the offensive zone to the tune of 19 first-period shots. Follow-up opportunities benefitted the Rams, as Will Zimmer banged home a rebound for the game’s decisive goal with 9:47 left in the first period.
“Randolph sends some guys to the net, they get rebounds and we weren’t ably to cover guys in front,” said Conklin.
Zimmer’s goal was the first of two for him in the period, the second of which came on the powerplay just before the end of the frame. Zimmer has been a thorn in the Lancers' side, scoring three goals in their two face-offs this season.
“[Zimmer] is a good player,” said Conklin. “He was a part of our game plan, but unfortunately we weren’t able to shut him down.”
Zimmer’s two first-period goals sandwiched a goal from Randolph's James Mattson. The three-goal lead was more than enough for a Randolph squad that had not given up a goal all postseason.
“They were getting some real nice looks,” said Conklin. “[Matt Delseni] made a couple of nice saves, but they were able to get a couple by him.”
Livingston goaltender Delseni was superb despite giving up five goals in the contest. He finished the game with 34 saves to cap off a solid year and career at Livingston High School.
“[Delseni] has been the backstop for us all year long,” said Conklin. “He had a tremendous year.”
While the Lancers are heartbroken at their playoff exit, the team will still boast one of its better years in program history with a 16-6-5 final record.
The squad managed to win two tough state playoff matchups and the departing seniors left their marks on the program. Seniors Chase Friedfertig, Connor Flaherty, Adam Steiner, Greg Rocheville and Ted Lee combined for 17 points in the playoffs.
Despite losing 10 seniors to graduation in June, the Lancers hope to continue where they left off in 2018 with a younger cast of players in 2019.
“We have a big senior class and we’ll lose a lot of [players],” said Conklin. “We’ll have to have the younger guys step up [next year] and do it again.”