DUNELLEN, NJ – The ice men are hot. Chad Simons scored three goals to pace Watchung Hills (11-6-4) over Old Bridge in the first round of the 2016 NJSIAA Public A Tournament on Tuesday, 8-2.

The Warriors advance to play Howell in the second round on February 26. 

The Warriors erupted for four first period goals and the defense kept Old Bridge bottled up in their end for most of the night.

Zach Lindewirth got the Warriors on the board first scoring from the right circle with 11:30 left in the first period to put Watchung Hills up 1-0. Michael Brady scored twice in less than two minutes to put Watchung Hills up 3-0 with 5:34 left in the first period. “The two goals from Brady were huge,” said Watchung Hills Head Coach Anthony Criscitello. “It really gave us the confidence to finish out the game strong.”

Strong play was exactly what Watchung Hills displayed, outplaying and outscoring Old Bridge racing out to a 5-0 lead until Old Bridge’s Jack Morris was able to slip the puck past Warrior goalie Ryan McHugh with 9:50 left in the second period. Morris’s goal was sandwiched in between two second period goals by Watchung Hills’ Chad Simons. Simons’ first goal was on the power play, and he then scored later in the period at even strength.

Josh LoGiudice added three assists and Rohan Ganta and Adam Manspiezer each scored one goal for the Warriors. 

Coach Criscitello took last years (2014-2015) team to the state playoff tournament for the first time since 2009.

“I told the team we needed to get on them early and we were able to do that,” said Criscitello. “Today was nice to be able to pump a few goals in and boost everyone’s confidence. Our defense played well tonight. It’s our strong suit, and going forward we are going to need it because we are going to start playing better teams.