SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ - The Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School Raider ice hockey team got a taste of winning over the holiday break, notching a 2-1 victory on Monday Dec. 23 against Colonia, but it didn’t last long. A post-holiday crash resulted in a 10-1 defeat to Ocean Township on Dec. 26. With no time to recover, the Raiders then suffered a 5-2 loss to the Monroe Falcons the next day.

The Raiders’ record stood at 1-3-1 going into the three-game stretch; the icers were ready to start turning things around and set the tempo for the rest of the season. Senior goalie Alex Montagna turned aside all but one of the Patriots’ shots in the Colonia game, and Davey Leong was on fire, scoring two goals for the Raiders. The day after Christmas was not so kind though, as the Spartans scored seven goals before the Raiders could answer once to the Ocean goalie. Four more Spartan goals in the third period and the Raiders had to swallow a tough 10-1 loss.

Looking to get the bad taste out of their mouths, the Raiders took on the Monroe Falcons the next night and goals by juniors John Bruckman and Davey Leong tied the score at 2-2 in the second period. Two minutes into the third period though, the Spartans forged ahead 3-2 and they put the game out of reach, scoring with 4:00 left in the game. An empty-netter at the buzzer gave the Falcons their 5-2 victory.

The Raiders will have a mountain to climb to get back on the winning track with their next games against Summit, ranked sixth in New Jersey, on Friday, Jan. 3 at Union Sports Arena at 4:10 p.m. and the perennially strong Westfield Blue Devils on Wednesday, Jan 8 at Warinanco at 8:30 p.m. Follow the Raider Icers at www.leaguelineup.com/spficehockey and all New Jersey high school hockey at www.njhockey.org.