ROXBURY, NJ - The undefeated high school ice hockey teams from Roxbury and Montville faced off in a spirited battle Wednesday that ended with a 3-2 victory for the Gaels that placed them at the top of the Halvorsen Division.
Goaltenders kept things scoreless for the first half of the game, before Montville broke through seven minutes into the second period. But the lead was short-lived.
Roxbury's Kevin Keane scored on the next shift with an assist from Ethan Barooah. Four minutes later, defenseman Kyle Jenkins gave the Gaels the lead as he blasted a shot past Montville goalie Kevin Faulkner with Barooah picking up his second assist.
Roxbury's lead held until the middle of the third period, when Montville scored the tying goal right after Roxbury killed off a five-minute major penalty.
The Mustangs had a great chance to win the game on another power play with less than three minutes to play, but Roxbury junior Nick Thomas stole the puck and rushed up the ice. He beat Faulkner for the unassisted, short-handed game winner, his first goal of the season.
Montville then pulled its goalie for a 6-on-4 advantage, but Roxbury's defense and goaltending turned away the last-ditch offensive effort. Ryan Callahan was again brilliant in goal, stopping 26 of 28 shots for his fourth win of the season.
The 4-1-1 Gaels next take on West Essex-Caldwell as the holiday tournament begins on Saturday, at 8 p.m. at the Ice Vault in Wayne.