ROSELLE, NJ — For the first time in years, one of Westfield’s main ice hockey rivals was not on the Blue Devils’ regular season schedule.
Though a Westfield vs. Scotch Plains-Fanwood matchup was not slated when the season started, the two met on Wednesday night with a trip to the Union County Cup final on the line.
The matchup lived up to its near sell-out crowd hype, and Westfield eventually flexed its potent offensive muscle to hold off a powerful Scotch Plains-Fanwood team that entered the match with just one loss. Westfield scored three goals in under a two minute span during the second period and added another in the third to take home a 4-2 victory at a chilly Warinanco Ice Center. The Devils advance to play state ranked Summit for the Cup on Saturday.
Matt Rittendale scored two goals and dished out an assist to lead the Blue Devils, who at first fell behind in an early 1-0 deficit. Tanner Devin and Bryce Dannevig each scored a goal apiece, while Kenneth Meyer added two assists.
Rittendale’s first score came in the midst of a one minute, 25 second stretch in Westfield scored three times in response to Scotch Plains taking the lead on the game’s first goal just seconds before. Tanner Devin started Westfield’s scoring onslaught at 13:25 during a power play, then Rittendale added his goal at 11:05, and just over a minute later, Dannevig put a shot to the net when facing a 2-on-1 advantage in the Blue Devils’ offensive zone.
Adam Glod scored Scotch Plains’ goal just 20 seconds out of the first intermission which provided the Raiders with a brief 1-0 lead, and was the only advantage they’d own all night.
When the Raiders came knocking on Westfield’s door again late in the eventful second period on a crafty Jonny Scheer point-blank goal, Westfield answered by scoring their second power play goal with ten minutes remaining in the third and final period. Rittendale put another in the net during a 5-on-4 Westfield advantage, as both Raiders’ Kyle Remo in the penalty box on a double-minor roughing call.
Westfield goalie Kenneth Meyer recorded 17 saves while earning the win.
Westfield will take on highly-regarded Summit in the Union County Cup finals on Saturday. Summit defeated the Blue Devils, 7-1, on Dec. 19.