Stand on your head

January 26, 2006 on 11:08 pm | In game recap | No Comments

Morris Knolls 4, Morristown-Beard 1
Goaltending and a strong power play look like they could be enough to win a state title this year. Defending Mennen Cup and public state champion Morris Knolls had both of those facets covered Thursday, scoring three power-play goals and getting a spectacular 44-save performance from Josh Ofner in a 4-1 win over Mennen Division rival Morristown-Beard.

Unfortunately, I missed the first period. Each team had two power plays, and No. 4 Morristown-Beard (13-3) held a 16-7 shot advantage. But No. 9 Morris Knolls (13-2) cashed in on both of its chances with the man advantage. Jimmy Timmins opened the scoring at the 3:56 mark, and Steven Jones made it 2-0 with 2:18 remaining in the period.

It was more of the same in the second period, with Morristown-Beard carrying play. The Crimson hit the post in the first minute of the period, and Jones, standing just outside the crease, was whistled for delay of game after throwing the puck into the corner. But Ofner rose to the occasion with a series of stops on the ensuing power play. Morris Knolls got two more power plays in the period, and the Golden Eagles ran their advantage to 3-0 on the second one when Dan Duda ripped a shot from the right point that whistled by a screened John Yanchek. Morristown-Beard got back in the game with 0:38 remaining in the period when Sam Altiero took a breakaway pass from Ryan Paradis, shrugged off a slashing penalty called on Duda, and roofed a wrist shot at the near post.

I saw Walt Keiper use 12 different forwards for Morris Knolls in the game, rotating seven of them through the four wing slots on his second and third line, and occasionally on the top line when Duda shifted to defense. John Puskar, by contrast, only used his third line for a few shifts. Despite the depth, Knolls was unable to wear Morristown-Beard down and had trouble even clearing its own zone to get a line change early in the third period. But the Crimson never really looked like getting back in the game, and Tommy Tomensky sealed the win for Knolls with a length-of-the-ice slap shot into an empty net with 57 seconds remaining.

Knolls has won three straight and is unbeaten in five straight against Beard after winning last year’s Mennen Cup final and the first meeting this year. The Golden Eagles sit alone atop the Mennen Division with a 9-1 league mark. Beard, which is 2-0 against the Gordon Conference, dropped into a third-place tie with an 8-3 league record. Knolls gets a chance to avenge one of its losses on Saturday against Chatham, while the Crimson will face Randolph in a crucial game Tuesday.


Morris Knolls 4, Morristown-Beard 1

Scoring

MB 0 1 0 1
MK 1 2 1 4

Shots

MB 16 13 16 45
MK 7 6 9 22

1st
3:56 MK (pp) #10 Jimmy Timmins (#14 Dan Duda, #41 Tommy Tomensky)
12:42 MK (pp) #44 Steven Jones (#14 Dan Duda, #10 Jimmy Timmins)
2nd
6:58 MK (pp) #14 Dan Duda (#41 Tommy Tomensky)
14:22 MB #9 Sam Altiero (#15 Ryan Paradis)
3rd
14:03 MK (sh, en) #41 Tommy Tomensky

Goalies
#30 John Yanchek (MB) 21-18
#33 Josh Ofner (MK) 45-44

Power plays: MB 0-6, MK 3-5

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