MORRIS TOWNSHIP, NJ – In an independent game largely scheduled as a warm-up for the state tournament Madison fell 3-2 to Morristown on Sunday night at Mennen Arena.
The Dodgers, a team that dominated the second tier of Morris County hockey all season long en route to the Halvorsen Cup title, dropped to 18-6-1 with the loss.
Tied 2-2 going into the final period Madison had 15 minutes to take the lead, but Morristown would not let up.
What proved to be the game-winning goal came with 13:09 left to play, when Morristown’s Spencer Levite scored on the power play off an assist from the team’s leading scorer, Nate DeFares, to put the Colonials up 3-2. The loss broke Madison's three-game shutout streak.
“I think this was a very good game for both teams to have played tonight,” said Morristown coach Bobby Jones, of Sunday’s warm-up game.
“For Madison, it’s a game to play in between winning their cup and states, and for us it was a chance to shake off some rust against a good team before Westfield on Tuesday.”
Morristown’s Tommy Zmanchinski scored first on Sunday off a pass from Conor Critchley, who set his teammate up in front of the net for his first goal of the season.
Five minutes later, Dodger Jett Tom balanced things out with a power play goal. Ian Skinner and Kyle Pruzick both contributed assists.
Madison scored again on power play less than two minutes into the second period after a Morristown player was penalized for high sticking at the end of the first. This time the shot came from freshman Matt Gero—his seventh this season—off passes from Tom and Pruzick.
But Critchley—active on both ends of the ice all game long—slapped a shot past Madison goalkeeper Matt Ubertaccio to level things up 2-2 with 4:18 left in the second.
Critchley launched a rocket that beat Ubertaccio to the farthest extent of the upper right corner. Ubertaccio turned back 28 Colonials shots, while senior goalie Derek Peck stuffed 30 shots for Morristown.
Madison moves on to the NJSIAA Public C Tournament round 2 Thursday at 6:15 p.m. versus Ramsey (10-12-2) inside the William G. Mennen Sports Arena, 161 Hanover Ave.
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