MONTVILLE, NJ - The Montville ice hockey team continued its hot start to the 2017-18 season as they rolled over Morris Hills 10-0 in their home opener on Monday, Dec. 11 at Mennen Sports Arena in Morristown. Montville's Jon Cuozzo recorded a hat trick with a goal in each period while freshman starting goalie Adrian Prelich picked up his first shutout in net.
The Mustangs were dominant from the initial puck drop as they were firing on all cylinders out of the gate, but couldn’t put the puck in the back of the net early on. They finally got on the board with 4:43 remaining in the first period when Nick Mangano scored an unassisted goal. That first goal provided Montville with the confidence it needed to score at a much higher rate. The Mustangs scored again just eight seconds later when Jon Cuozzo notched his first goal of the season off assists from Joe Nuzzi and Daniel Scheine. The team would add another goal, this one on the power play from Thomas Nees, at the 2:35 mark to take a 3-0 lead at the first intermission.
Montville continued its momentum coming out of the locker room as the team scored twice in the opening minute of the second period, which all but insured that Montville was on their way to a blowout victory.
“I think the explosiveness [of the offense] probably comes from good conditioning in practice,” Cuozzo said. “It definitely helps keep the legs going.”
“We’re just doing our best to put pucks on the net and create traffic in front,” head coach Alex Beatrice said. “We’re also not trying to over-complicate things, there’s really no secret here to what we’re doing.”
Daniel Scheine scored the next two goals for Montville, one short-handed and the other on the power play, and Mangano added another power play goal with just over a minute left to build a commanding 8-0 lead going into the third and final period.
The Mustangs didn’t let up as Cuozzo scored 49 seconds into the third period to complete the hat trick, the first of his high school career, which put the exclamation point on an emphatic victory to get Montville up to 4-0 on the season.
“I was pretty happy,” Cuozzo said. “I wanted to do a ‘celly,’ but I had to keep it classy.”
Next up for Montville will be a tough test in the form of Whippany Park, who is also currently undefeated, on the road on Saturday, Dec. 16. Cuozzo, one of the team’s senior leaders, is confident that they’ll confront this challenge head-on.
“This definitely helps boost our confidence,” he said. “We know they [Whippany Park] are undefeated so far, so we want to come out strong against them.”
The team will return home this coming Monday, Dec. 18 when they host Parsippany Hills at Mennen Sports Arena at 4:30 p.m.