WEST ORANGE, NJ — Despite a strong showing on Wednesday, the West Essex Knights ice hockey team didn’t get the results they wanted, as the group finished with a 1-1 tie against Verona-Glen Ridge (VGR).
“To end up with a tie is certainly not the way it should be,” said West Essex head coach Marc Gregory. “It was a lopsided game and I assumed we had the better play, but we ran into a hot goalie and they can change a game.”
The Knights dominated play to the tune of 33 shots to VGR’s 19. Most of Verona’s shots came in the final five minutes of the contest, and Hillbillies goaltender Chris Kostas was superb in collecting 32 saves.
“A hot goaltender changes the game sometimes,” said Gregory.
The Knights held a lead entering the final period of play, but when it seemed they might cruise to victory, their opponents had other thoughts. Ultimately, a quick goal from Jarrod Keating the side of the net snuck in to tie the game at one with 6:20 left to play. This was Keating’s third goal in just four games.
“We had a little bit of a breakdown in the defensive zone, and it only takes one sometimes,” said Gregory.
West Essex has much to be proud of, however, as the Knights showed how strong they could be during at least two periods. The group held VGR to just five shots over the first two frames, ultimately leading to a 1-0 lead off Peter Andolino’s first goal of the season.
“[Andolino] is a hard worker,” said Gregory. “He grinds, he’s going to get those goals, rebounds, the tips; he’s usually in the right place and that was one of those instances.”
The tie brings West Essex’s record to 1-1-1 on the season. The Knights will look to break a two-game winless streak when they take on a tough 2-1 Millburn team on Saturday.
“We’re fine—I think we did a lot of good things tonight and I don’t think it’s something we’re going to be real upset about as far as how we played,” said Gregory. “I think we move on and we have a tough matchup against Millburn on Saturday.”