CHATHAM, NJ - After a hot start to the ice hockey season, a nine-day layoff and a skilled Morristown-Beard team cooled off the Cougars, 2-0, on Thursday afternoon at Mennen Sports Arena.

"That shouldn't be an excuse, we should always come ready to play," Chatham goalie Zach Pendergrast said. "This shows that we're not the greatest team in high school history and that we can lose if we don't come ready to play. It's a good reality check."

Chatham had defeated Morristown-Beard in the season opener, 6-2.

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It might be said that Chatham (3-1) played well enough to win Thursday, if not for a break here or there, but Morristown-Beard (3-2-1) broke through first with two goals in the second period from Connor Tartaglione and then Brayden Patricia. The Crimson received 36 saves from goalie Anthony DelTufo in the shutout.

Dave Andreychuk, who leads Chatham with four goals, had his point-blank shot from in front saved by DelTufo in the minutes after Morristown-Beard's first goal.

"I don't think we played a bad game,"  Chatham coach Brendon Herr said. "I think we had some opportunities that we didn't capitalize on. The counter to that is we had a week-and-a-half off. They have some skilled players who beat us. Second time playing teams, they start to understand your system and special teams. They took Andreychuk away today on the power play by over-shifting to him."

It was a rough game for Chatham and Dave Andreychuk. No call was made on this play as he was taken out on his way to the net

"It's an early-season measuring stick," Herr said. "The good thing is that we can possibly meet these guys again in the Mennen Cup."

A year ago, Chatham won two games against Morristown-Beard during the regular season but lost to the Crimson in the Mennen Cup playoffs. Morristown-Beard won its fourth straight Mennen Cup while Chatham last won it in 1981 as Chatham Township High.

"A couple mistakes and good goals by the," Pendergrast said. "We were a little discouraged, but I think we'll get them next time. We beat them twice in the regular season last year and lost to them in the (Mennen) playoffs, so the regular-season games didn't mean much."

One of Chatham's missed opportunities in the game vs. Morristown-Beard

Chatham plays Roxbury, 4:15 Saturday at Mennen Sports Arena.