WEST ORANGE, NJ — The 2021 high school ice hockey season in New Jersey may be an abbreviated one with a late start, but the West Orange High School team is already halfway to its total number of victories last winter.
The Mountaineers, who had four victories and a tie last winter, won each of their first two games this season with victories on back-to-back days last weekend.
This has been achieved with what West Orange head coach Eddie Scafidi calls an "extremely young team."
"We are looking to compete in every game and get experience for our extremely young team," Scafidi said. "We are going into the season with only three upperclassmen."
One of those upperclassmen, senior center Cam Murphy, has started the season on an absolute tear. Murphy erupted for seven goals and three assists in the Mountaineers' first two games.
"Senior captains Cam Murphy and Drew Palent will have to play an enormous amount of the games and dominate offensively and defensively," Scafidi said.
For his part, Palent, a senior defenseman, has four assists and a pair of goals in the first two games.
Jackson Pruksarnukul, a sophomore, will take on the demanding role of minding the net. He split time in goal as a varsity freshman last winter. So far, he has made 35 saves out of the 39 shots he has faced.
"The team looks to lower their goals against average, which it has done the last two seasons," the coach said. "We are a very young team with a small roster. We can look at it as a weakness, but we can make it a strength in building for our future."
Sophomore forward Jack Olsen had two goals and four assists in the first two games. Etan Nativ, another 10th-grader, joins Palent on the back line and has a goal and an assist so far. Sophomore wing Calvin Tranquada has a pair of assists and has scored one goal.
West Orange's next scheduled game is Thursday against Parsippany Hills at South Mountain Arena.