WEST ORANGE, NJ - The Verona-Glen Ridge ice hockey team got the monkey off its back with a 4-0 victory over Millburn at Codey Arena on Monday, the first victory over the Millers since 2015 for the squad.
“Not one of these kids was on the VGR Team the last time we beat them, we needed to push through, the boys knew it and we came out flying,” said Head Coach Ken Lilien.
The Hillbillies took control from the start en route to a 40-shot performance. Peppering the Millers goaltender with a number of body blows the squad inevitably would break through. Dominick Pandiscia utilized a screen in front of the net for the game’s first and decisive goal with 3:39 left in the first period.
“I knew we needed a goal, I knew that if I got it on net something would happen. I took the chance and it just happened to go in,” said Pandiscia.
In the second period the Hillbillies would add an insurance goal. Will Benson would drive home a puck in traffic just two minutes and 24 seconds into the frame. For Benson, it was his second goal in as many games.
“It’s pretty good production from a freshman,” said Lilien.
Not to be outdone, fellow freshman Rowan Brennan continued the underclassmen’s dominance of the stat sheet on Monday. Brennan added two third period goals to give him three in his last two games.
“My seniors are doing a great job, but so is everybody. We have a lot of depth and I rolled the whole bench, every kid got ice and I trust them all,” said Lilien.
The VGR offense is coming on strong with 13 goals in their last three games, all of which have been victories. The squad found a good chemistry and continued to roll through the lines making their offense difficult to defend.
“We talked a lot about putting pucks on the net. We’re averaging around 50 shots a night,” said Lilien.
Senior goaltender Chris Kostas was able to finish out the first shutout of the young season for VGR. Kostas had 19 saves on the evening, a number of which came on key penalty kills.
“It wasn’t the toughest game for Kostas, but he made a couple tough saves and kept them off the board,” said Lilien.
The VGR team’s victory improves the squad to 3-1 on the season, and they’ve won their last three games. The group will have a week off before hitting a tough part of the schedule, which sees the likes of Chatham and Madison.
“[They are] two big names in New Jersey State hockey, and we’ll be ready we’re looking forward to that opportunity,” said Lilien.
TAPinto Verona/Cedar Grove is an online newspaper serving the Townships of Verona and Cedar Grove. TAPinto Verona/Cedar Grove is accredited by the New Jersey Press Association, and is a locally owned news organization serving the community.