MORRIS TOWNSHIP, NJ - Facing a 3-1 deficit as the second period dwindled, the Roxbury Gaels Ice Hockey team rallied against Chatham to score two goals for a tie today at Mennen Sports Arena.
The game brings the Gaels to an 8-6-2 record and Chatham to 8-1-4. Roxbury freshman Billy Hefferle landed the puck twice including a short-handed goal at 5:47 in Period 2 and one of the come-back points with 3:52 on the period. Roxbury's Loca Monacelli scored the game-tying goal with 1:04 left in the period.
A 10:30 a.m. start and no "7th Skater" support may have had something to do with the way Chatham played. The Cougars had no juice in their power play, conceded Chatham winger Will Barnett.
"We struggled the whole game and couldn't really get anything going," he said. "We kind of got down and couldn't regain the power play. We struggled the whole day. Their goalie played pretty well. We had those two five-minute penalties and we didn't take advantage."
Roxbury was charged with two five-minute penalties for boarding, but mostly escaped unscathed because of Chatham's lackluster power play and penalties the Cougars committed that took away some of their advantage.
"Our power play has been the most consistent part of our game, but not today," Chatham coach Frank Gilberti said. "When you have a five-minute power play, you can't take a penalty. That just can't happen."
Chatham's Ryan Barnett, grabbing a pass from Coager goalie C.J. Albanese, gained his eighth and ninth goals in the game. He opened the scoring with just 8.4 seconds left in the opening period. Chatham took a 2-0 lead 3:22 into the second period when Michael Nall netted his second goal of the season.
The Gaels got on the scoreboard with a breakaway and a short-handed goal by Hefferle. However, a little more than a minute later, Barnett's power play goal gave Chatham the 3-1 lead. Hefferle's second goal cut Roxbury's deficit to 3-2 before the Gaels tied it at 13:55 of the second on a slap shot from the point by Monacelli. The puck trickled into the goal past Albanese.
"I sort of moved my stick where I thought it was going," Albanese said. "I anticipated too much on it. I could have played better."
Roxbury next plays a 4 p.m. away game Jan. 20 against Pequannock.