ROSELLE, NJ -- Senior Danny Caputo and junior Mark Frade scored goals for the Nutley Raiders ice hockey team Monday night, as the team’s defense prevented the Cranford Cougars from scoring and finished the regular season with a 2-0 shutout.
The victory improved the Raiders to (7-12-2, 1-9-2 NJIHL) as the Cougars fell to (10-9-2, 6-5-1 NJIHL).
“We knew that we could play them tight,” Raiders Head Coach Andrew Surowiec said in a post-game interview. “We basically shadowed their best player and tried to shake him a little bit and he didn’t score.”
The Cougars fought a tough battle -- outshooting the visitor 34-15 -- but the Raiders defensemen stayed on top of Ryan Malko throughout the entire game to ensure that the 18-goal junior didn’t score.
After junior Ryan O’Mara and freshman Matt Jaworski brought the puck close to Cranford’s net in the first period, Caputo scored his 14th goal of the season.
The two teams met for Nutley’s home opener on December 3 and the Cougars came back from a 2-1 trail to achieve a 3-2 victory. Caputo knew his team could redeem themselves in the end-of-season rematch.
“They came back from a 2-1 lead we had, so we were just coming in to get revenge on them and we got the job done,” he told TAPinto Nutley.
Frade added another goal, which was assisted by O’Mara and senior Phil Woodkotch.
The junior explained that after a tough season, a victory was necessary before entering the NJIHL Playoffs.
“We knew we needed a win, we came out and we got it done,” Frade said.
As he gets ready to close out his junior season, O’Mara has nine goals and 12 assists. Woodkotch recorded one goal and five assists during his final season.
Freshman goalie Johnny Matrona saved 34 pucks Monday during his fourth high school game in the goal.
Closing out the 2016-2017 regular season last night, Surowiec was disappointed about the team’s many one-point losses, but is proud that they were able to grab seven wins during their transition season. The boys and girls lost 10 seniors last year and acquired eight new freshmen in December.
“I certainly would have liked a better record, but I think we surprised a few teams out there and did the best we could,” the coach told TAPinto Nutley.
The Raiders will take on the (12-9-1, 8-3-1 NJIHL) Governor Livingston Highlanders Friday for the first round of the NJIHL Playoffs. The two teams will face off at the Union Sports Arena at 9:10 PM.