WEST ORANGE, NJ — The West Essex ice hockey team is coming together as the end of the regular season draws near after a 3-1 victory over Ramapo on Friday gives the Knights their second consecutive win.
“The energy is good right now,” said head coach Marc Gregory. “They are doing a good job of sticking to the game plan and executing the game plan; and when you do that, good things are going to happen more times than not.”
West Essex got off to a fast start in the first period, outshooting Ramapo 11-4 for the frame. After a turnover, Clayton Prial went on a breakaway for the game’s first goal just three minutes and 34 seconds into the game.
“It was a great start,” said Gregory. “We needed that to get us going.”
In the second period, the Knights added an insurance goal that turned out to be the game’s decisive blow. Justin Bergman collected a rebound and bounced it off the goalie’s skate and into the net for the 2-0 lead with 38 seconds left in the second period.
“A little miscommunication there, but [Bergman] was there he was able to tuck it in, he was in a good spot,” said Gregory.
Bergman’s goal came off of a shot from Dylan Huff at the point. The senior has been instrumental during the team’s winning streak, collecting a goal and an assist in the process.
“[Huff] is playing well,” his coach said. “He’s playing good defense, he moves the puck well, and when you do that, things happen.”
While the game turned out to be a safe victory for West Essex, it still hung in the balance at several points. Goaltender Jason Albrecht held it together, however, collecting 21 saves for West Essex on the evening to the delight of his coach.
Eventually, the Knights added one more goal in the contest for insurance off the stick of Alex Kierepka. The goal hinted at a bright future for the squad, capping off an evening of goals scored by underclassmen.
“We have good senior leadership, and we have some underclassmen who have a lot of potential,” said Gregory.
West Essex improves to 8-8-3 on the season with the victory over Ramapo. The Knights will bring their two-game winning streak into their next game on Wednesday against Montclair.
“They need to execute the game plan, stay positive, have good energy, and we will be okay,” said Gregory.