A poor start doomed the Passaic Valley/Cedar Grove Ice Hockey Team to a 5-0 loss to River Dell at the Ice House in Hackensack on Saturday night.

“It’s the same thing that’s been bugging us all year. A couple mistakes, we get down by a couple goals and we just haven’t been able to get those back,” said Passaic Valley Head Coach Mike Sheehan.

A neutral zone turnover would create the games first and decisive blow. Vinny Ruff collected the Hornet turnover and took the puck three quarters of the ice to give River Dell a 1-0 lead just one minute and 13 seconds into the contest.

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“I thought we were playing a pretty good first period, but then we’re down a goal,” said Sheehan.

PV attempted to battle back against a River Dell team that defeated them earlier this season by a score of 3-1. Sam Giuffrida, Nick Lopresti and Alex Lopresti each had quality scoring opportunities in the first, but could not convert against the wall that was River Dell goaltender Matt Ajello.

“We’ve got to be able to bury those…we just weren’t able to bury one early and it wound up biting us,” said Sheehan.

River Dell was able to lock down the scoring threat of the Alex and Nick Lopresti who have been red hot as of late. The duo have combined for nine points in their previous two games heading into the contest.

“They’re one of the few teams that has the skaters to keep up with Alex and Nick. I wish we had done a little bit better a job exposing their defense,” said Sheehan.

As the experienced skaters began to get worn down River Dell continued to apply the pressure. Utilizing a solid cycle River Dell was able to get traffic in front of the Hornet net. The pressure ultimately resulted in an additional three goals off of eight second period shots effectively ending any hopes of a PV comeback.

“They’re a good team and they came and played hard tonight…unfortunately as I told the guys in the locker room some days you’re the windshield and some days you are the bug, unfortunately we were the bug today,” said Sheehan.

The loss drops Cedar Grove/Passaic Valley to 9-9 on the season. The Hornets have hit a rough patch having lost five of their last six games, but feel as though they are extremely close to turning a corner and getting back to their winning ways.

“If we play like we did tonight and eliminate some of the mistakes we’ll be fine. This was one of those games that kind of got away from us a little bit…this loss you have to put it in the rear view mirror and do better the next time,” said Sheehan.

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