RANDOLPH, NJ- The Injury riddled Randolph boys ice hockey team skated over and around Manalapan, getting back into winning form with an 8-1 victory.
Zachary Vino came out with a strong performance, netting two goals, and the Rams’ goaltending stood rock solid, with a big win for younger goalie, Scottie “Buzz” Kimiciek who stopped 16 pucks on 17 shots. “WE were just out there playing Randolph hockey,” said Captain Luc Swedlund. “Playing with heart, bangin’ bodies, and gettin’ biscuits on net.”
Swedlund didn’t get the start between the pipes, but his presence was shown elsewhere as the energy on the ice and off the ice was intensified, leading to the Rams giving no chance to the Manalapan Braves.
The Rams were playing without junior forward and two year vatsity player, William Zimmer who was out with the flu, freshman forward and 1st liner JT Zangara who was out with a concussion, and senior defenseman and four year starter , Jack Zimmer who is out with a torn quadricep.
“It seems like every day we’re down another guy, droppin’ like flies,” said Coach Rich McLaughlin, when asked about his team that has seen many players miss time this season. The Rams were playing with a bare bones squadron, and they needed everyone going 100% against this jersey shore team.
Randolph came out hot, wanting to prove something after a demoralizing loss to conference rival, Chatham. The Rams took their game right to Manalapan and controlled most of the play throughout the 1st period.
“The energy was there, that’s classic Randolph hockey, said senior defenseman Matt Siegel. It’s fun to be a part of when we’re all gellin’ like that.”
The Rams scored a goal and outshot Manalapan 11-3 in the first period.The goal came from freshman Justin Harper on a nice dish from his line mate Adam Redgate.
But the Braves had different plans. Manalapan scored a goal early in the 2nd period, and the momentum began to sway their way.
Shortly after, Manalapan had a golden opportunity when a defender threaded a pass through two oncoming Rams, right onto the stick of his Braves’ teammate for a sure breakaway goal. .But “Buzz” Kimiciek stood tall and made an unbelievable stop to dash Manalapans hopes of spoiling a Randolph Rams playoff appearance.
Kimiciek’s big save sparked Randolph to take the reins of the game, and they did just that with three quick goals to run out to a a 4-1 lead going into the 3rd period. The goals came from Max Gaudioso, David Sousa and Jacob Michaels.
Randolph continued to keep the ball rolling into the third period as the “fire in their belly” stayed lit, as Zachary Vino popped two goals, netting his 2nd and 3rd goals of the season.. Senior forward and “Randolph hockey role player” Tino Iuso scored a shorthanded goal, deservedly earning his first goal as a Ram. Randolph scored another as the period dwindled to an end.
Randolph improved their record to 6-5-3 with their 8-1 thumping of Manalapan.
Questions were beginning to rise on Randolph’s credibility as a contender in the state playoffs this year, after a loss to Roxbury and a close loss to Chatham dropped their record to .500 on the season. But they came out to play against Manalapan, showing a glimpse of their true characteristic “Randolph hockey” style of play, even with a lineup that is hampered by injuries.
The Rams now look ahead to their next contest, an away game at Skylands Arena, vs conference opponent, Kinnelon Colts. Junior Will Zimmer is back in the lineup, and the Rams two other injured scratches should return soon as Randolph looks to peak when it matters most.