WEST ORANGE, NJ – Nutley-Columbia Ice Hockey Coach Andrew Surowiec says his team needs to start playing as hard in their games as they do in their practices.

“At the practices, they’re working their butts off and there’s a lot of competition, but then we get to the games and it seems like something is missing,” the coach told TAPinto Nutley after his team recorded their fourth consecutive loss Monday night to fall to 0-4.

After suffering losses to Millburn, Bernards and Cranford during the season’s first two weeks, the Raiders gave West Essex their first victory of the season with their Monday night 7-4 loss.

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“We had some really disappointing efforts the past three games and I thought that they’d be able to prove themselves in this one, but I guess they didn’t really want it,” the coach said. “It’s just disappointing to see that kind of effort.”

After Joe Melillo teamed up with senior captain Ryan O’Mara to bring the game to a 1-1 tie in the first period, the Raiders failed to score any points in the second, causing West Essex to achieve a game-high four-point lead.

The Raiders stepped up in the last 15 minutes and scored three goals, but it was too late to catch up to West Essex, who went on to score twice more in the third period.

“The most frustrating part is that I know they can do it,” Surowiec said. “When they are perfectly capable of putting pucks in the net like that but they don’t do it the entire game, it just leaves the coaches puzzled.”

The coach added that although the Columbia kids are still new to the program, they should be playing more competitively at this point.

“It’s almost mid-December -- they should be playing much harder at this point,” he said. “They are all hockey players and every hockey player should know that you have to work hard if you want to win games.”