MORRIS TWP. – The Parsippany Regional hockey didn’t get the result if was hoping for in its MCSSIHL season-opener at Mennen Arena, falling to Park Regional, 9-1. Despite the setback, head coach Anthony Egidio liked some of what he saw from his young team that dressed just 11 skaters, including four freshmen.
“I was proud of the way we fought tonight, especially in the third period,” Egidio said. “We had a lot of freshman playing their first game that I don’t think were completely aware of the speed of the game and we got fatigued in the second period and made mental mistakes. But we were able to regroup in the third and not have the same breakdowns. We played better and smarter hockey in the third period.”
One of the bright spots for Parsippany Regional was the play of Justin Wellman in goal. Despite yielding nine goals, the junior kept his team in the game in the opening period and made a number of spectacular saves throughout the contest.
Despite being outshot 13-4 in the opening period, Parsippany Regional trailed only by a single goal at 2-1 after 15 minutes of play.
Swift-skating Park Regional, which is among the early-season Haas Division favorites in the MCSSIHL, scored twice in the opening 3:09 of the contest. Senior winger Ryan Salus opened the scoring at 1:48 before defenseman Justin Lerner notched the first of his two goals less than two minutes later to make it 2-0.
Park recorded the first 11 shots on goal but Parsippany Regional cut the deficit in half with just 26 seconds left in the period when senior captain Frank Baccaro carried the puck up ice and was able to find the back of the net off a goalmouth scramble. Jake Weiss and Devin Mistry picked up assists.
But Park Regional took complete control during a five-goal outburst in the second period that saw the home team extend its lead to 7-1. Junior defenseman Steven Carter notched two of his three goals during the uprising, as Park held a 16-3 shot advantage.
Parsippany Regional was able to regroup somewhat in the final period, recording six shots on goal while managing the puck better and playing smarter in the neutral zone. Park held a 12-6 shot advantage over the final 15 minutes, with Carter completing the scoring and his hat trick at 9:33.
Parsippany Regional will have a few days to digest its season opener and prepare for its next Haas Division battle against Morris Catholic/DePaul on Nov. 29 at Mennen Arena.
“We have four days off before Morris Catholic and I think we’ll take some things from tonight’s game that will help us going forward,” Egidio said. “We’re be excited to be back playing hockey and we’ll be ready to go.”