MORRISTOWN, NJ- The Randolph Rams took down longtime rival Morris Knolls by a score of 2-1 in a tough, grinding battle on Wednesday night, Dec. 3 at Mennen Arena.
The Rams were seeking to avenge their semifinal loss to the Eagles last year in the state tournament playoffs, and successfully did so.
Senior forward Tyler Jones said about the rivalry, "Obviously it's a big one against Knolls, especially after what happened last year. We really wanted this one and it meant a lot to us."
Senior Ryan Snarski spoke about how the week of practice prepared the team for the big game. "The practices were high tempo, lots of energy, lots of focus."
It was evident that this was the case when the Rams came out with a hunger for the puck and were rewarded with an early goal on a great effort from Junior Dan Janson. With the puck deep in the offensive zone, Janson laid a big hit on a Knolls defender in the corner to force a turnover. Janson turned and raced to the front of the net where he then stick handled around the goalie from close range after receiving a pass from Kenny O'Brien. He backhanded the puck into the left corner of the net past the sprawled out goaltender.
The Rams continuously fired pucks on net and controlled play for the remainder of the first, outshooting Knolls 15-4, as the horn sounded leaving Randolph up, 1-0.
Randolph continued dominating and doubled its lead in the second period with a power-play goal from Captain Mike Slavin. Noah Leinwand and Jack Zimmer assisted on the goal. Slavin collected the puck in the left faceoff circle and needled it through a Knolls defender and under the glove of the goaltender, putting the Rams up 2-0. With the comfortable two-goal lead, the Rams relaxed a bit and goalie Garrett Stenberg came through.
The Eagles were relentless in the third period, but Stenberg kept his cool and only let one shot in from the middle of the slot. In all, Stenberg turned aside 21 of 22 shots and secured the second win of the season for the Rams.
Assistant Captain Noah Leinwand, who assisted on the Slavin goal, was pleased with the performance from the team on Wednesday night. "We did well controlling the puck down low," Leinwand said. "We did pretty well on the forecheck and got a lot of shots on net, we also got some good looks in the power-play."
The Rams improved to 2-0 on the season and look ahead to their next game against Chatham on December 8th at 8:15 p.m.