WEST ORANGE, NJ - The Millburn High School Varsity Hockey team has endured highs and lows this season, and Friday night can definitely be considered a low-light of the season as Millburn was defeated in the first round of the McInnis Conference Cup Tournament by their rival Livingston at West Orange’s Codey Arena.
Livingston dominated the game from the start and eventually defeated Millburn 7-0. It isn’t all bad for Millburn; they still have the playoffs to look forward to, which will be their first showing in the post season in 8 years.
It was a very aggressive game; with 13:45 left in the first period, Millburn’s Max Hayum was sent to the penalty box for hooking. This was the only penalty against Millburn. There were four penalties against Livingston.
Tal Finberg led the Lancer’s surge with 2 goals and 3 assists. The first Livingston puck that found the back of the net came from Michael Koval at 2:06 into the first period. Eventually, Millburn lost control and it was 3-0 in favor of Livingston at the end of period 1.
The second period did not begin any better than the first as Livingston’s Jonny Garfinkel scored Livingston’s fourth goal just 3 and a half minutes into the 2nd period Livingston’s Jonny Garfinkel was assisted by teammate Tal Finberg.
When asked about his team, Millburn’s Assistant Coach Chris Meyers said, “We accomplished a lot this season and despite the loss, I am very proud of how hard the boys played. They truly gave it their all for all 45 minutes of the game.”
The last time the two played, on January 14, Livingston beat Millburn 7-2. It hasn’t always gone the Lancers' way this season; the Millers beat Livingston earlier in the season on December 8, when Millburn pulled out victorious with a score of 6-5, in a game where superstar Phil Pikus scored 4 times to help his team beat their local rival.
With respect to Millburn goalie Corey Nadell, the final score was a bit deceiving, as he had a very good game and recorded 62 saves.
Meyers went on to say, “Corey had another spectacular game with 62 saves. We still have the state tournament to play and I am confident that our team will come ready to play and ready to win.”
Livingston (14-5-4) advances to play Nutley in the McInnis Cup semifinal next Tuesday. Millburn (12-11-0) qualified for the NJSIAA state tournament for the first time in 8 years, which will be played next weekend.
Jacob Goldstein, one the players on Millburn’s starting line said, “For the upcoming games we just need to work on our symmetry as a team. We have a lot of team bonding, which consists of team dinners coming up and we just need to give the preparations this week everything we've got. Coach told us in our 3 practices next week we will be working hard and all the guys on the team are ready for the state tournament and doing something special this year.”