MONTCLAIR, NJ — Sooner or later, the Scotch Plains-Fanwood ice hockey team was going to have to come back down to earth. That time came Saturday night, as the Raiders suffered their first loss of the season.
Playing in their second game in as many nights, the Raiders (4-1-3) fell behind early and could never recover against a strong Montclair team. The Mounties ended the Raiders’ unbeaten streak by serving them a 6-1 defeat at Clary Anderson Arena. The loss comes just 24 hours after the Raiders tied Millburn on Friday.
Jonny Scheer netted an unassisted, short-handed goal in the second period, which at the time cut Scotch Plains-Fanwood’s deficit to 2-1. But Montclair responded with four unanswered goals during the final two periods to hand the Raiders their first loss since Feb. 12 of last season.
“It’s always tough to get a loss, but frankly, it’s alright that we now got this out of the way because it’s kind of less things on our shoulders to worry about right now,” Scotch Plains-Fanwood head coach Matt Gunther told TAPinto.net. “[Last] night we played Millburn and had a great game; tonight we were a little tired and have quite a few players who are not 100 percent.”
Pat Ledgett led the charge for a powerful Montclair offense, scoring twice and dishing out three assists upon coming off the bench. Cary Collucci added an additional trio of assists, while Miles Bylin, Dan Korenbaum, Conrad Sarbak, and Jake Skorzewski added additional goals for the Mounties.
Montclair controlled the vast majority of pressure, outshooting Scotch Plains-Fanwood, 35-19.
“[Montclair] plays a 2-3 formation, which is not the most orthodox one that you would see from most teams,” Gunther said. “Especially in the first period, it took us a little time to figure out how we can go against their floor check.”
The highly anticipated contest between potent NJIIHL contenders from different divisions was often halted because of penalties. A combined 12 penalties totaling 24 minutes was accumulated between both sides. The sometimes-chippy play reached an apex as the game’s final minutes were ticking away. Tim Lamberta and Montclair’s Will Schiffenhaus briefly exchanged shoves and both were sent out for two minutes on roughing calls.
The Raiders were penalized on seven occasions.
“I knew it was going to be a coincidental, because whenever there’s something going on in front of the net, it’s going to be both people going to the box,” Lamberta said of the roughing call. “I thought I might as well make the most of it, maybe get the boys riled up.
“We had way too many [penalties],” he added. “That’s got to get corrected.”
35 seconds into the contest, the Mounties struck first on a Sarbak goal, and their lead grew when Korenbaum scored one minute, 20 seconds into the second period.
Jonny Scheer got Scotch Plains-Fanwood on the board with just over 1 minute remaining in the second period, when he buried a shot in the right side of the net with his team short-handed.
However, Montclair quickly thwarted any chance of a Raiders comeback. It unleashed four-unanswered goals during in the final 16 minutes. Moments after Scheer’s goal, Skorzewski (:59) and Ledgett (:02) scored seconds apart.
Montclair fueled off that late second period surge and produced two more goals in the third. Ledgett netted a wrist shot and then assisted on Miles Bylin’s goal; both of which came in the period’s ninth minute.
The Raiders will look to return to their winning ways on Tuesday in a rematch with Millburn.