break up the Halvorsen Division

January 15, 2006 on 2:45 am | In game recap | Comments Off on break up the Halvorsen Division

When I looked at the Mennen Arena schedule for Saturday, I wasn’t very excited. In fact, I planned to skip Mennen altogether and split my time Saturday between the Gordon Conference games at Aspen Ice in Randolph and South Mountain Arena. But I got a call to work the first game at Mennen and stayed for the second and third games. Glad I did.

Most public schools in the state are intimidated by No. 7 Randolph and No. 11 Morris Knolls, the 2004 and 2005 public champions, respectively, and last year’s public finalists. In their own backyard, however, two Halvorsen Division opponents stood up to the big kids on Saturday.

In the first game, a banged-up Mountain Lakes team used a defensive game plan to limit speedy Randolph‘s opportunities in open ice, and the Rams’ inability to generate offense came to the fore once again. With junior Matt Lowell solid in goal, the Lakers took an unlikely lead with 1:23 remaining in the second period when sophomore forward Michelle Wieczorek flipped in the rebound of a Zach Cohen shot for her first career varsity goal. Randolph spent most of both periods in the Lakes zone but mustered only 15 shots; at times it looked like the Rams were passing the puck to the goalie more than shooting.

Trailing 1-0 into the final stanza, Randolph got a gift when Mountain Lakes was called for an unusual delay-of-game penalty for picking the puck up off the ice, and the Rams capitalized with a 5-on-3 power play goal from Mike Turner. They continued to pepper Lowell, outshooting Mountain Lakes 15-1 in the first half of the period, but the game remained tied. Randolph finally broke through with a fluky goal when Ryan Bannon’s low-angle backhander deflected off a Laker defender and floated behind Lowell with 1:32 left. Mountain Lakes recovered to pressure Dan Swenson in the final minutes but could not tie the score. Lowell finished with 37 saves.

Rival Morris Knolls watched confidently while warming up for its next game, even exchanging jeers with Randolph fans before getting down to business against licensed giant-slayer West Morris. The Wolfpack beat Morristown-Beard 3-0 earlier this season behind a 49-save performance from Andrew Bogadek and were up to their old tricks when Eddie Strobino scored early in the second period for a 1-0 lead. Bogadek made 25 saves over the first two periods to keep it a 1-0 game.

But the difference between Morris Knolls and Randolph was underlined by the Golden Eagles’ third-period response. Knolls’ top line of Tommy Tomensky, Steven Jones, and Dan Duda absolutely took the game over as few lines in the state can. Starting the period shorthanded, Tomensky took a long pass from Duda and beat Bogadek on a breakaway to tie the game just 27 seconds into the period. Duda then set up Jones for a second goal just 43 seconds later to make it 2-1. With plenty of time to regroup, West Morris buckled down and got a tying goal from Scott Olivo near the three-minute mark.

But Knolls answered back less than two minutes later, with Tomensky scoring twice in 23 seconds to make the game 4-2. He completed a natural hat trick at the 12:20 mark and, after Bryan Clark contributed a rare goal from a different line, Tomensky scored his fifth goal of the period with 46 seconds left to complete the rout. Knolls scored on four of its first five shots and beat Bogadek 7 times in 13 shots for the period. On three occasions, the Golden Eagles scored goals less than 43 seconds apart. But the message has been sent – the Halvorsen Division can play.

In the nightcap, Charette Division leader Park Regional beat Haas Division leader Kinnelon 4-3 despite being outshot. In other Saturday action, John Bellamente tallied the ridiculous total of seven goals in Mount Olive‘s just-as-ridiculous 14-6 win over Dayton. Delbarton moved back into second place in the Gordon Conference with a 3-1 win over St. John Vianney, while Seton Hall Prep held off Pope John 4-2.

Randolph 2, Mountain Lakes 1

Ran 0 0 2 2
ML  0 1 0 1
Ran  8  7 24 39
ML   4  5 10 19

13:37 ML #2 Michelle Wieczorek (#8 Zach Cohen)

1:08 Ran (pp) #11 Mike Turner (#10 Derek Ranger, #22 Ricky Roma)
13:28 Ran #29 Ryan Bannon (#15 Matt Incledon, #11 Mike Turner)

#31 Dan Swenson (Ran) 19-18
#30 Matt Lowell (ML) 39-37

Power plays: Ran 1-4, ML 0-4

Morris Knolls 7, West Morris 2

Ste 0 2 2 4
HV  1 1 0 2
MK  14 11 13 38
WMC 3 8 5 16

3:24 WMC #9 Eddie Strobino (#2 Todd DeVoid)
0:27 MK (sh) #41 Tommy Tomensky (#14 Dan Duda)
1:10 MK #44 Steven Jones (#14 Dan Duda)
2:58 WMC #40 Scott Olivo (#2 Todd DeVoid)
4:08 MK #41 Tommy Tomensky (#44 Steven Jones)
4:31 MK #41 Tommy Tomensky (#44 Steven Jones, #14 Dan Duda)
12:20 MK (pp) #41 Tommy Tomensky (#14 Dan Duda, #44 Steven Jones)
12:51 MK #18 Bryan Clark (#40 Alex Cleeland, #5 Dennis Cole)
14:14 MK #41 Tommy Tomensky (#44 Steven Jones, #14 Dan Duda)

#34 Andrew Bogadek (WMC) 38-31
#45 Josh Ofner (MK) 16-14

Power plays: MK 2-4, WMC 0-4

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