WAYNE, NJ- The Ice Vault Holiday Hockey Tournament is a good opportunity for high school teams to see how they match up against some top teams in the state they otherwise would not face. In their first two contests of the three game tourney, the Randolph Rams (Ranked No. 7 in the state) solidified their standing as the top public team by downing No. 14 Ramsey and No. 18 Indian Hills.
Against Ramsey, Randolph jumped out to a 4-0 lead behind two goals from JT Zangara, and one apiece from James Mattson and Ben Yurchuk before allowing a goal against midway through the third. Mattson added another goal late as the Rams skated off with a 5-1 victory. Gavin Einfeldt backstopped the defense with 25 saves in goal, while the Randolph offense fired 44 shots on the Ramsey net.
In game two, a big, physical Indian Hills team came out of the gate with an aggressive attack, looking to take the body early and often. While finishing every check and adding a “little extra” in the process, they succeeded early as their physical play knocked the Rams off their game a bit. Halfway through the first the Randolph found themselves in unfamiliar territory as they were down by the score of 1-0.
However, the Rams got a jump start late in the first when they took advantage of a power play opportunity. Mattson converted from in front of the net for an unassisted goal to tie the game up at 1-1, sending the teams into the break on equal footing.
Randolph made some adjustments for the second period, and they started to take control of the game, avoiding many Indian Hills checks while delivering some of their own. A short-handed goal by Zangara ( assisted by Yurchuk and Michael Sofia ) and an even strength goal by Mattson (in which he scored off of his own rebound, assisted by Zack Gallo) finished a three-straight goal flurry that put Randolph in command.
The teams played a scoreless third to give Randolph a 3-1 win. Einfeldt turned away 29 shots for the win. Randolph hits the ice again on Friday Dec. 27 in a Mennen Division showdown with Morristown Beard at 5:45 at Mennen Arena.