ROSELLE, NJ — The Westfield High School varsity boys ice hockey team advances to the second round of the McInnis Cup following a 2-1 victory over Glen Rock on Saturday night.
After a scoreless first period, the Blue Devils finally broke the tie early in the second as Thomas Conrod scored after a scramble in front of the net to put the team up 1-0.
Later in the period, Westfield went up 2-0 when senior Will Gamba netted one while Panther goalie Mack Alvino was out of position. The play started with a flurry in front of the net, before the puck was batted out, landing on the stick of the driving Gamba, which set up his wrist shot from 20 feet out.
“Especially in a close game like that, we have to finish on opportunities like I had,” Gamba said. “It feels great having a clear shot like that one, and I was happy I could finish it and give us the two-goal lead.”
There was a glimmer of hope for Glen Rock, with four minutes to go. Junior Anthony Maurice cut the lead in half to make it 2-1.
“At first the whole team is definitely upset, but we have to keep our heads in it and play even harder,” Westfield’s Gamba said while discussing Glen Rock’s goal. “At the end of the day it’s playoff hockey and if we lose we go home, so we always have to stay calm late in the game.”
The Panthers took a penalty with just under two minutes to play, which prevented them from tying the game, and Westfield came out with the win.
Westfield advances to the second round, when they will face Montclair on Feb. 19.
Michael Siroty is a freshman at Westfield High School participating in a journalism program with TAPinto Westfield.