WEST ORANGE, NJ - The Millburn ice hockey team opened the season with a statement 2-1 victory over rival Livingston on Friday at Codey Arena in West Orange.
The Lancers have dominated the heated rivalry, winning nine of the last 11 meetings against the Millers. The Millers entered the game with a chip on their shoulder after being swept by the Lancers in last year’s season series, including a devastating 4-3 overtime loss in the McInnon Cup Tournament.
On both sides, tempers flared as many players found their way to the penalty box. Millburn’s senior defender Alec Stupp scored in the first period to break the deadlock and followed up with his second minutes later on a scrum in the box. Stupp had Lancer keeper Matthew Delseni’s number in the first period.
The Millers kept pressuring the box, got off many quality shots on goal and controlled the time of possession. Millburn’s offensive prowess with puck proved an effective form of defense as well.
Millburn's Gabe Nadell, regarded by many as one of the best keepers in the state, was nearly impenetrable against Livingston, allowing only one goal, and blanking the Lancers every shift.
The Lancers' aggressiveness came at a price, giving the Millers many power plays. Livingston was unable to get star scorer Chase Friedfertig going, which impacted the rest of the team.
The Millers begin their 2016-2017 campaign with a 2-1 win and hope it translates throughout the year.
According to assistant coach Chris Myers, this win “sets the tone for the rest of the season, gives us confidence for what lies ahead this season.”