MORRISTOWN, NJ- In a small measure of revenge, the Randolph boys’ ice hockey team booted rival Morristown out of the Mennen Cup Tournament by taking a shootout win on Friday Feb. 10, at Mennen Arena.
Morristown defeated the Rams all three times the teams played last year, including the final game of the season, the state finals. Randolph got a bit of payback in this one, but needed a nerve wracking shootout to get it.
“Before the shootout, I was just trying to stay calm and relax,” said Rams goalie and team captain Luc Swedlund. “Coach Valvano just told me to "track the puck", and I just thought to take it one shot at a time and do my best to stop the puck. It was very nerve racking, but I stayed calm and played the shots the best I could.”
Before it came to the dramatics, the game started slowly. Although the Rams controlled play for most of the first, outshooting the Colonials 8-2, Morristown was able to hold them at bay by killing two early penalties and escaping the period tied 0-0.
Play evened up in the second, with each team taking 6 shots on goal, although neither side generated any good quality scoring chances.
The pace of the game heated up early in the third however, as Morristown struck one minute into the period, taking a 1-0 lead. The Rams responded, as Zach Vino tied the game at 1-1 off an assist from Jake Flood. The game ended all knotted up, and the teams went to a shootout to decide the winner.
Swedlund was solid in net, stopping the shot he needed to, as three of his teammates, Nick Civetta, Jack Zimmer, and Adam Redgate buried their shots at the other end to win the shootout for Randolph by a 3-1 margin.
Top seed Morris Knolls awaits the Rams next in the semi-final round, Monday Feb. 13 at Mennen Arena.
“We're going to have to bring our best game on Monday, it's going to be fun, playing these guys always is,” said Swedlund. “We have to stick our "Randolph Hockey" game plan and grind these guys out. If we bring energy and some jam and play our hardest we can give these guys a run.”