RANDOLPH, NJ- Four Morristown high school hockey players played key roles in helping the NJ Freeze 18U-AA travel hockey team advance to the USA Hockey National Tournament.
The team won all three playoff games to claim the NJYHL State Championship, held at the Prudential Center in Newark. From there, the Freeze moved on to the District tournament, where they ran into a familiar New Jersey foe in the finals.
Matched up against the North Jersey Avalanche in a best of three weekend series for the Atlantic District (AAHA) Championship, the team suffered their first loss of the season in the Friday night opener by a score of 1-0. In game two on Saturday, the Freeze rallied and defeated the Avalanche in double OT to force a decisive game three on Sunday.
In the "winner takes all" game three, the Freeze proved to be the better of two closely matched teams, by squeaking out a 3-2 win in regulation to earn their trip to Nationals. The teams record now stands at 28-1, and by winning the District they officially advance to the USA Hockey National Tournament in Green Bay, Wisconsin, in April 2018.
The four Morristown players are: Derek Peck, Nate DeFares, Drew Shandley and Jay Horan. The team is rounded out by players from Randolph, Morristown Beard, West Morris, Morris Knolls and Pope John.
This NJ Freeze team is currently ranked 8th in the USA Hockey national rankings.