WEST ORANGE, NJ - The Verona-Glen Ridge ice hockey team broke a two game losing streak in grand fashion with a 4-2 victory over Manalapan on the teams ‘Senior Night’.
“Senior Night as a coach always scares me…sometimes it’s hard as a coach to get the focus you want because of the celebration of the night. We talked about that and I thought we had a really good start,” said Head Coach Ken Lilien.
The Hillbillies made sure to get on top of their Brave counterparts early to erase any thoughts of an upset. Jeff Egan picked off an errant pass and promptly scored for the game’s first goal just three minutes and 14 seconds into the game. The goal was Egan's third in three games.
Midway through the period the VGR squad was able to tack on two more goals. Seniors Dylan Gleeson and Aidan Brennan found themselves on the stat sheet on what will be one of the last home games of their varsity careers.
“[Gleeson] has been coming along all year. He has a great shot and if he can get the puck and get a good look he usually puts it in…I’m really proud of his effort,” said Lilien.
Aidan Brennan’s goal with 7:23 left in the first period continued what was a phenomenal season for the forward. The eventual game winning goal was Brennan’s tenth of the season.
“I was sitting in front and there was a scramble in front of the net. I saw my opportunity and I took a poke at it and it ended up in the back of the net,” said Aidan Brennan.
Brennan later added his fourteenth assist of the year on his brother Rowan’s lone goal of the contest.
“It was a good time. I think the senior night got to us a little we weren’t on our ‘A’ game. We were a little sloppy, kind of trying to be a little fancy, but we got the job done and that’s all that matters,” said Brennan.
For the VGR squad a fast start was needed in order to break what has been a tough last few games. While some teams may take an inferior opponent for granted on a special occasion like Wednesday the VGR squad made sure to stick to the task at hand to dispose of Manalapan.
“I knew a good start was important and the boys really responded,” said Lilien.
The Verona-Glen Ridge team is now 13-6 on the season as they head into the final few regular season games before the Kelly Cup Playoffs. The Hillbillies feel as though they’re clicking on all cylinders having scored 30 goals in their last eight games.
“We’ve got a mantra that we want to play playoff hockey which is a little different and now that we’re getting down to the important part of the season we’re hoping to build,” said Lilien.
VGR will look to make it two wins in a row when they take on Watchung Hills on Friday.
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