WEST ORANGE, NJ - Freshman center Tal Finberg scored his first career hat trick and two other players found the back of the net for the Livingston Lancers as they got their first win of the season on Friday night, defeating West Orange 6-2 at South Mountain Arena.
Finberg certainly was the player to watch for Livingston. A freshman, who was not even sure if he was going to make the varsity team at the beginning of the season, sparked his club with three goals.
The first came at the 9:37 mark of the first period. Mike Philpott fired a puck to Finberg, who was streaking down the right side of the ice toward the West Orange goal. He fired a shot that beat West Orange goaltender Teddy Steinhart on the glove side.
His second score came about six minutes later when he gobbled up a rebound off of a shot from teammate Ben Arden. He lifted the puck into the goal on a shorthanded opportunity, putting the Lancers up 2-0 with 3:15 left to play in the first period.
"As a team I thought we were a lot faster than them. It wasn't like we dominated, but it was nice to play good," Finberg said.
Finberg completed his hat trick late in the second period to put the Lancers up 5-1. Jonny Garfinkel won the faceoff and knocked the puck back to Finberg. He fired a shot past Steinhart, as the Lancers took a four goal edge into the final period.
"I wasn't planning to do that, but I saw their defenseman screening his own goalie so I just wound up and shot it," Finberg said of his third goal. "It feels pretty good. I wasn't expecting to go out and score a hat trick, so it's definitely nice."
The Lancers played a solid, fast-paced, puck possession game against West Orange. They outshot the opposition heavily in all three periods and defensemen Arden and Philpott played well in front of goaltender Brian Lilien.
Garfinkel scored two goals in a row for the Lancers in a span of just over two minutes in the second period. His first came off a breakaway chance, as he made a deke move past Steinhart before shooting the puck into the goal. His second tally came off of a tough right angled shot, from near the right circle, as the puck somehow found its way into the goal. The Lancers were up 4-0 five minutes into the second period at that point.
"I thought we really put a lot of pressure on them in the offensive zone. We created a lot of opportunities," Lancers Head Coach Dave Conklin said. "I thought we did a good job defensively too; moving the puck well up the ice."
Philpot scored the sixth and final goal for the Lancers when he blasted a shot from the point that went off Steinhart's glove and into the net.
The Lancers are now 1-1 on the season after Friday night's victory. Their next test comes against Verona High School on Monday afternoon at 4:30 p.m. at South Mountain Arena.