WEST ORANGE, NJ - Despite a strong effort from their rivals, the Livingston Lancers pulled away with a 5-1 victory over the Millburn Millers on Saturday night. The Lancers jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first five minutes and never relented. Coach Ken Lillien remarked, “We outshot them [Millburn] tremendously in the first game [this season], but just could not finish our chances. We made sure we came out tonight keeping our heads up and looking for good passes.”
The Lancers jumped out to an immediate advantage in the first period by winning the faceoff and Adam Lanel’s shot off of a pass from Griffin Bushwell registered the game’s first goal. Freshman Tal Finberg quickly struck on the next faceoff, as Andrew Hirschorn controlled the puck and skated through the middle of the offensive zone. He found Finberg all alone on the right side, who beat Millburn’s goalie.
The goals continued to flow from the home team as another found its mark just 4:03 into the first frame from sophomore Tyler Krus. The Millers were unable to register a shot until a power play halfway through the first period. Despite the pressure, they were unable to put a goal on the board.
The game’s next tally came off of a skillful individual effort. Defenseman Johnny Garfinkel weaved through the defense with ease, but his shot did not find its mark. Freshman Joe Lillien followed Garfinkel’s rebound for a fourth Lancer goal.
The Lancers immediately handed the Millers a 5 on 3 advantage less than two minutes into the second frame. Livingston escaped with relative ease. The best chance for the Millers was created on the opposite end, as a well-timed check on defenseman Mike Philpott started a three on one rush towards Livingston’s goalie. Lillien was up to the task, deflecting two shots away from the net.
Another Lancer miscue gave the Millers a golden opportunity to score their first goal. Lillien attempted to stop a breakaway by skating out towards the skater, but was overeager and lost control of his skates. The Millburn forward was equally as aggressive, losing the puck and the opportunity at an open net. To keep the Millers at bay, Livingston poured on the forecheck and tacked on two additional tallies from Hirschorn and Finberg.
While Millburn scored several times in the third period, the Lancers tacked on two more goals to finalize an important 11-4 victory heading into a tough upcoming week.
Despite an injury to first line defenseman Mike Koval, the approach on Saturday night was no different for Coach Lillien. “We never considered just rolling two defensemen. You just cannot do that. We have numerous players who earned ice time tonight and I was very proud of their effort.”