RANDOLPH, NJ- Despite an uneven effort against a tough Madison team who came in with an 11-2 record, the Randolph hockey team was strong enough to muscle out a 2-1 victory and improve their record to 11-0-3 on the season.
“Madison is a good team, they are tough to play against and their goalie is very good,” said Randolph coach Rich McLaughlin. “We have to come out with intensity every night, and we didn’t have our full effort tonight. “But we got our two goals and we got through it, a win is a win and we will move on.”
Despite a sloppy start to the first period, Freshman James Mattson got the Rams on the board early in the game, converting on a two on one breakaway to put the Rams ahead just over three minutes into the first period. Senior Max Gaudioso took the puck up the left wing boards, and flipped a perfect pass across the crease to Mattson who redirected the puck into the net despite getting pulled down from behind.
The Rams outshot Madison 14-6 in the first and controlled play for a good part of the period. The second period was scoreless, but Madison gave a stronger effort and play was relatively even. That continued early in the third, and the Dodgers tied the game up four minutes into the final period.
But in a typical Randolph workmanlike effort, Nick Civetta drew a holding penalty while grinding along the boards, and the Rams made Madison pay for the mistake.
On the power play, JT Zangara connected with Civetta on the left side of the net, and the senior threaded a pass across the goalmouth to Captain Will Zimmer. Zimmer buried the game winning goal, and the Rams held on from there for a 2-1 win.
The win capped off a two-week stretch in which the Rams knocked off two top 20 teams in Glen Rock and Summit, and tied No. 7 ranked Seton Hall Prep, in addition to picking up two other victories over strong teams Mahwah and Madison.
The Rams have risen to No. 10 in the state, and are the only public team ranked in the top 10.
“The recent wins against Summit and Glen Rock, those were good games,” said McLaughlin. “Compared to how we played tonight it was like two different teams. But overall we are playing very well right now, the kids are playing hard so that’s a good thing.”
The Rams meet Livingston next on Friday Jan 12.