WEST ORANGE, NJ -- The Nutley-Columbia Raiders ice hockey team beat the Bayonne Bees 4-1 over the weekend to capture their second victory of the season.        

After falling to the Bees 4-2 on December 20, the Raiders came onto the ice Saturday night with improved defensive skills.

“We outplayed them as well the fist time around, but we had some defensive lapses,” Head Coach Andrew Surowiec told TAPinto Nutley. “This time we really covered the net and also wound up getting a few more pucks in.”

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Junior Eli Verdun of Columbia High School scored the first goal of his career Saturday before continuing to record a hat trick.

“This season has been a bit of a learning curve for him,” Surowiec said. “He had a couple of assists before Saturday night, but he just hadn’t found his way to the net yet. He worked really hard to get those three goals.” 

With a victory over a competitive team like Bayonne, Surowiec is feeling positive about the remainder of the season.

“We have a tough stretch ahead of us, but if we continue to tighten up our defense skills we should be able to put some more wins on the board,” he said.

The Raiders will take on the Cranford Cougars (5-3-2) Monday, the Millburn Millers (9-2-1) Friday, and the Scotch Plains-Fanwood Raiders (8-1-3) Saturday.

Nutley-Columbia has been outplaying a lot of teams lately and Surowiec believes they proved themselves in the most recent one.

The coach also noted that they out-shot Mendham 50-19 on December 29, despite losing by two points.

“We’ve outplayed a lot of teams recently and I feel like we’re really turning things around,” Surowiec told TAPinto Nutley.

The Raiders will meet with the Cranford Cougars Monday night, Jan. 8, at Warinanco Park Sports Center Ice Rink at 6:30 p.m..