UNION, NJ - While there was a hockey game to be played Sunday night between Gov. Livingston and Watchung Hills at Union Sports Arena, competition took a back seat to honor one of their own just before puck drop.
The Highlanders have come together since learning of William Coyle's diagnosis with Hodgkin's Lymphoma in August. He finished his chemotherapy treatments in early December and has recently returned to school, cancer free with a good prognosis.
William is a sophomore at GL and is a member of the cross country and track teams. In the fall, members of the cross country team spearheaded a "Team William" bracelet sale that went viral. The school camaraderie continues and "Team William" bracelets were available at Sunday's hockey game and proceeds of the game were donated to the Coyle family.
The crowd cheered and the players hit their sticks against the boards as William dropped the special purple game puck to kick off the game. And, in the contest, GL prevailed, 8-3.
Senior Billy Alexander led GL offense, coming out with his second career hat-trick with two assists in this non-conference win.
Junior Ryan Erickson gave the Highlanders the early upper-hand, scoring the game's opening goal. Seniors Ryan Monroy and Brian Gray extended the lead with goals in the first period.
After Monroy recorded his second game goal, Watchung Hills got to work on the deficit in the second frame when Dan Hadowanec scored followed by two goals by Liam Feeley to get in the game. Alexander closed out the period with the first of his goals with 20 seconds on the clock to advance GL's lead, 5-3.
GL's offense was clicking, and in the third period continued to find the net with two goals by Alexander and a goal by Carson Wahlers.
Kyle Wahlers, Carson Wahlers (4), Tommy Hoy, Jacob Miller, Zach Miller, Billy Alexander (2), Ryan Erickson, Max Mele and Drew Skotarczak (2) recorded assists. Nick Papa recorded 27 saves in the win.
Up next, Gov. Livingston travels to Montclair on Jan. 31 with a 7:45 p.m. start. The Highlanders will play Summit on Friday, Feb. 2 at Union Sports Arena at 4:30 p.m.