RANDOLPH, NJ- After an 18-day layoff due to Covid-19, the Randolph boys ice hockey team squeezed in two practices before resuming game play against Morristown Beard on Saturday Feb. 27. The team honored their seniors prior to the game, and then put up a good fight against the No. 6 ranked team in the state before ultimately ending up on the wrong end of the 5-0 final score.
Playing without their top two scorers in Ben Yurchuk and Zach Gallo clearly hurt the Rams offensive effort as their shots on goal were by far the lowest so far this season.
“As far as the outcome of the game, I am not disappointed with how it turned out,” said senior captain Matt Cislo. “Sure, we lost and we were missing Zach and Ben - but minus the beginning of the second period, I think that’s the hardest I’ve seen the boys play yet. I could not be more proud and it’s something we can build on during this last stretch.”
Morristown Beard jumped on the Rams early, scoring in the first few minutes for a 1-0 lead. Randolph then tightened up and kept the Crimson from scoring again.
Early in the second however, the Crimson got hot, scoring three quick goals, ( one on a Power Play ) in the first four minutes of the period to blow the game open.
“I think we were pretty good for most of the game,” said senior goalie Joe Yutsus. “We fell apart early in the second, but other than that we stuck in there with one of the top private school teams in the state. If we take the way we played in the third period into Tuesday against Knolls, I think we can have some success, especially with a full lineup.”
The Rams did shake off that bad short stretch and battled evenly the rest of the game, however they did give up one more goal late on a beautiful end to end rush by Crimson Captain and leading scorer Cam Fernandez.
Even though the game outcome was not what they had hoped, the Rams seniors recognized the significance of the game.
“It’s been a great honor to play for such a great organization for the last 4 years,” said Yutsus. “I’ve seen a lot of great players go through Randolph. It was cool to have that moment before the game with my parents for senior night.”
Having only played a five game season due to Covid cancellations, the teams full focus is now on what they have left - the Mennen Playoffs this coming week.
“Despite the loss, our teammates worked exceptionally hard for each other and the overall effort was solid,” said senior captain Luke Spagnuolo. “The seniors, myself included, are excited to play our biggest rival Morris Knolls in the semi-finals, but saddened that this is our last week of Randolph Hockey. We will leave everything out on the ice for Tuesday’s game regardless of the score.”
The Rams play Knolls on Tuesday at 8:00 PM, with the winner facing Morristown-Beard for the Mennen Cup title.