RANDOLPH, NJ- Senior Captain Jack Zimmer, younger brother Will Zimmer, and Freshman JT Zangara triggered a second period offensive explosion to lead Randolph hockey to a 9-1 victory over Tenafly in round two of the NJSIAA state playoffs. Jack Zimmer scored three straight goals, Zangara followed with two, and Will Zimmer assisted on four of those five, turning a 2-1 lead into a 7-1 cushion.
“It was like all of the misfortune we experienced throughout the year, the injuries and the scoring struggles, was lifted up and we just played our game,” said Jack Zimmer. “Everyone was out there grinding and doing their jobs and the goals came with the hard work.”
The Rams saw an unusually high number of players miss time during the season due to a combination of illness and injury, and the team struggled at times to find offensive rhythm and reliable scoring.
“Tonight was great, for the first time in while we were able to light the lamp, playing one of our best offensive games we've had in a while,” said goalie and team Captain Luc Swedlund. “This gives us confidence that when we bring our best game, and get our forecheck going we can play with anyone. These guys (our forwards) having been working their butts off and it's nice for them to get paydirt.”
To help spark the offense a couple weeks ago, coach Rich McLaughlin moved Jack Zimmer, a defensive starter since his freshman year and arguably the teams’ best skater, up front to center the top line. With senior starter Matt Siegal returning from injury, and the solid play on the blue line from sophomore Austin Cross and freshman Anthony Sophia the team could afford to make the move with Zimmer.
“Jack brings an edge to his game, tonight he went off, he was flying out there, being a leader, and the guys feed off that,” said Swedlund. “It seems if he gets going, we get the 2nd and 3rd line to go out and match his intensity on offense.”
Zimmer opened the game getting the Rams first goal for a 1-0 lead. Tenafly tied it shortly after, but before the period was over, the Rams were back on top 2-1, courtesy of a CJ Mortello goal. Zimmer and company then blew the game open in the second, passing the puck with precision and converting on chance after chance.
“Obviously it feels great to put the biscuit in the basket, but I wouldn't be able to do any of it without my brothers on the ice doing the right thing and sacrificing the body,” said Zimmer. The mood of the team after this win is very upbeat and excited, ready to get onto the next game. At this point in the season, we just have to take one step at a time and play Randolph hockey.”
Nick Civetta added a goal in the third, and Zimmer bookended his game opening goal by getting the games’ final tally to complete his five goal night.
Will Zimmer finished with six assists, while Zangara was credited with five assists. Swedlund made 17 saves in net.
The Rams will play again on Monday Feb. 27, when they face the winner of Sparta and Freehold, who have yet to play.
“It's going to be fun regardless of who we get in the next round, both teams will give us a good game,” said Swedlund. “We have preached all year that we are going to peak at the right time and today was a great step in that direction, we're going to use the confidence from tonight, and have two solid practices before Monday.”