WEST ORANGE, NJ — The West Essex ice hockey team fell in a heartbreaker to Morristown on Thursday, 2-1.
“We did a lot of things well, we played solid defensively, we had a lot of chances as well as we did unfortunately it wasn’t enough today,” said West Essex head coach Marc Gregory.
The Knights held a 1-0 lead entering the third period. A penalty put the Colonials on the power play and they would not falter. Connor Critchky scored from the point to knot the game at one with 8:22 left in the game.
“We didn’t feel at that moment that we had lost the game, it was just a reality check that we had to score again,” Gregory said.
Morristown utilized the momentum they’d gained to tilt the ice in their favor. After some back and forth play a skirmish in front allowed the puck to kick out to the point where Francis Zakleizz ripped a slap shot into the net for the eventual game-winner with just 64 seconds left in the game.
“They got it on net, traffic in front, [our goalie] didn’t see it, that shows if you put it on net you never know,” Gregory said.
The resilient effort for Morristown negated what could have been season-altering win for the Knights. After being outshot, 12-2, for the first period, West Essex came out flying in the second with an 18-shot period.
“We adjusted and I think we outplayed them in the second,” said Gregory.
The Knights ultimately were able to break free with their solid play. The puck eventually found the stick of Nick Trabb, who drove home the game’s first goal with 10:22 left in the period. The goal was Trabb’s second of the season.
“We had good puck movement they got it over to him and then it got onto his stick and he put it in the net,” Gregory said.
For West Essex the loss drops the squad to 2-4-2 on the season, as the Knights now fallen in their last three consecutive games. The Knights will look to erase their losing streak when they take on Wayne Valley on Friday.
“I told them, 'If you’re frustrated now take that frustration out on Wayne Valley tomorrow',” Gregory said.