MORRIS TOWNSHIP, NJ - The Morristown High School ice hockey team played as well as they have all season in Sunday night’s MCSSIHL inter-division game vs. Madison.
The Colonials doubled the Dodgers in shots on goal, moved the puck around the rink with alarming ease, and controlled a lion’s share of time of possession.
But as Morristown was reminded after the final whistle, hockey can be a cruel game with a little bit of bad luck and a hot goalie, and Madison walked away with a 2-0 victory.
The Dodgers scored their initial goal five seconds off a faceoff in the opening period, and added an empty-netter with 1:17 left to seal the win. The frustrating loss – Morristown’s third straight – drops the Colonials back under the .500 mark for the season at 6-7-2.
“There are times after games where I’m frustrated at how we played or things we didn’t execute, but not tonight. Everyone on the ice played a good, sound game. Our play was even better than in some of our wins,” lamented Morristown coach Bobby Jones.
A major part of the problem for Morristown was Madison goaltender Matt Ubertaccio, a three-year varsity player that stoned the Colonials 29 times to pitch the shutout. On three separate occasions, Ubertaccio denied what may have been a hat trick on many other nights by Morristown forward Specer Levite. The last of those opportunities came with 2:51 left, when Levite’s one-timer from the far-left post was deflected by Ubertaccio’s left arm pad.
The Dodgers got their initial goal off a face-off at the 10:14 mark of the first period. Aidan Niceberg shot a ricocheted puck into the upper left corner of the net off feeds from Jacob Erickson and Dave Renzulli to put the Rose City team up 1-0.
Morristown came tantalizingly close to evening the score with nine seconds left in the period, when Sean Donnelly made a defender miss and laced a backhand shot off the top crossbar that prevented a spectacular finish for the Colonials.
Midway through the second period, senior captain Nate DeFares broke free on a breakaway, but his hard shot was gloved by Ubertaccio to again preserve the shutout.
A Madison player was given a five-minute major with 12:05 remaining in the game, and Ubertaccio would save seven Morristown shots in that span.
With the Colonials pressing for the goal in the game’s dying moments, Erickson added an empty-net finish to double the lead at seal up the surprising victory.
“It’s easier to come up and play a Mennen Division team and win in a one-off game than the absolute grind that is our league,” said Jones about back to back defeats to West Morris and Madison, lower division MCSSIHL clubs. “Ten times a year you have to play against the top programs in the whole state, but that toughness usually shows itself at the end (in states).”
You May Also Be Interested In
Sun, June 10, 9:00 am Cranford Strides4Strength - A Walk to End Domestic Violence