MORRIS TOWNSHIP, NJ – Cheers from hundreds of Dodger fans echoed across the rink on Thursday night at William G. Mennen Sports Arena as the last seconds of the Halvorsen Cup final ticked away.
After losing the chase for the past two years, the Madison boys hockey team came out with a 5-0 shutout win over the West Morris Central Wolfpack for this year’s cup, the team’s fifth cup win since head coach Dave Hansen began his career with the Dodgers 15 years ago.
“These guys came together tonight, and they left it all on the ice,” Hansen said post game. “They played like a team tonight, and that’s why we got the win.”
Madison came out hot in the first period with a trio of goals. Jett Tom opened the scoring with help from Ian Skinner and freshman Aidan Niceberg.
Less than two minutes later, Dodger Jack Ticknor scored his third career goal off passes from teammates Ryan Catlin and Kent Sanchez. Niceberg netted number three for Madison with assistance from freshman Jacoby Erickson to bring Madison up 3-0 as the first period closed out.
Scoring slowed down in the final two periods, but junior Dave Renzulli did not. About halfway through the second period, he netted the team’s fourth goal and put the Dodgers’ final point on the board with 5:36 left to play in the third. Team captain Kyle Pruzick contributed an assist, along with Skinner and Tom.
Ticknor, a senior at Madison High School, said he “couldn’t be happier” for the chance to help his team secure the Halvorsen Cup.
“It’s so big for me, especially being a senior and captain of the team,” he said of the win. “It’s such a nice way to send it off. I couldn’t have asked for anything more.
“Everyone was sleeping on us, saying that we weren’t going to be good this year and we were bottom ranking. It’s great to be able to show everyone that we can do it.”
Hansen said his team’s performance made him hopeful for states on Thursday at 6:15 p.m., Mennen Arena, where the Dodgers (18-5-1) will go up against Ramsey (10-12-2) in the NJSIAA Public C Tournament.
“If we play like we played tonight, we can make a very deep run in states,” Hansen said.
Madison will first return to Mennen on Sunday at 6:15 p.m. to face Morristown, a practice game for states, according to Hansen.
“Morristown is a very good hockey team,” he said. “They’re the kind of team we want to play before states.”
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