Lancers Surge Past Old Bridge; Find Themselves in Elite Eight

Credits: Andrew Mordzynski Photography
Credits: Andrew Mordzynski Photography
Credits: Andrew Mordzynski Photography
Credits: Andrew Mordzynski Photography

The Livingston Lancers traveled to Old Bridge to face the Knights in the Round of 16 in New Jersey's Public A State Tournament.

The Lancers, being a nine seed had to travel to Old Bridge, who were just one seed ahead of them, however, that wouldn't matter to the Lancers, nor their fans.

Although the game began at 2pm, before either public school ended, both sides had a massive fan base with lots of cheering from both sides. Livingston had over 50 students in attendance at the game, even though it was a 45 minute drive to Old Bridge.

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And the "Green Army" wouldn't leave disappointed as Lancers' forward Tal Finberg scored the game winning goal with 5:52 remaining in the third. He was later able to add his final goal in an empty-netter which gave him a hat-trick for the afternoon to end the score with a 4-2 win.

When the game began, the Lancers struck first blood, with Tal Finberg finding the back of the net for the only goal in the first period.

Then, the physicality and pace started to pick-up as Old Bridge scored two goals of their own. The first was a powerplay goal from James Sheehan and the other was a breakaway goal from Peter Krzewinski.

"That breakaway goal was more a miscommunication on our part than a case of us getting overpowered physically," the Captain Defenseman Ben Arden explained.

Later in the second period, it was Cameron Friedfertig who tied it up to keep everyone on the edge of their seats.

As the third period horn rang, the Lancers took two more minutes to come out of the locker room. Morris Knolls was already out loosening up for the final period. The senior heavy squad understood that one loss would end their Livingston High School careers.

With play going back in fourth ice with some great chances, Tal Finberg was finally able to add his second goal of the game, which would end up being the game-winning goal for the Lancers with 5:52 remaining in the third period. Later Finberg would score an empty-netter to secure his hat-trick, and more importantly, the victory.

The Lancers have come from behind in three of their last five games (which were all wins). They led, lost the lead, and then came back to beat Nutley and Montclair Kimberley Acadamy during the McInnis Cup, and yesterday, they led 1-0 and then trailed 2-1 but got the victory over Old Bridge. It's astonishing how well Livingston is able to forget the sequence that just happened.

"Well we just keep our heads up," Finberg said after his four point performance. "Nothing's over until its over right? We just keep battling and stay in the game. Hockey is a game where momentum shifts from team to team constantly and the team that works the hardest usually wins. Fortunately we got some lucky bounces and were able to finish on them."

On the other side of the ice, Brian Lilien put up another solid effort saving 35 of 37 shots by the Knights. The Lancers blocked quite a few shots before they could get to Brian as well.

"I mean like I've said over and over, the resiliency and bravery of the kids on this team is truly inspiring," Arden said. "Old Bridge has four very solid defensemen who consistently rip shots on net so to see our forwards and even defensemen get in front of the puck time and time again just says something about the character of our team."

With the win, the Lancers will move onto the Elite Eight to face the #1 team in the Public A bracket in Morris Knolls. Morris Knolls is a great team, but with the loss of their star play Jack Monahan, Livingston is now on "upset alert" when they go to the Mennen Arena to face Morris Knolls at 6:15 on Saturday.

As for what they have to do tomorrow, Finberg said, "Stick to the game plan, you know? We have to believe in ourselves and know that this game is winnable (even though they are the clear underdogs)."

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