Both the Manalapan High School and the Jackson Liberty/Point Pleasant Borough co-op ice hockey teams will learn from their recent matchup to seek success this winter.
Jackson Liberty/Point Pleasant Borough gained its first victory when it skated to a 4-1 victory over Manalapan on Dec. 6 at the Howell Ice Arena.
Tied going into the third period, Jackson Liberty was the club that pushed through in the final period of play with three goals to pull out the victory.
“Our team played a great game,” said Jackson Liberty coach Kyle Weise. “We did what we wanted to do by getting the punk north-south and hustling all around the ice. This was a step in the right direction for us moving forward this season.”
Meanwhile, Manalapan will pick up pointers from that loss in an effort to shine this season.
Manalapan will look to win its first game of the season after starting with two defeats when it faces off against the Freehold Borough/Raritan/Colts Neck co-op team on Dec. 11 at the Middletown Sports Complex.
Jackson Liberty will next play Ocean Township on Dec. 13 at Howell Ice Arena.
On Dec, 6 in Howell, Jackson Liberty tied the game midway through the first period on a Joey Virga goal. The Ocean County dominated the pace of play going into the third period, getting 19 shots on goal in the second period to even its record to 1-1.
Jackson Liberty, however, couldn’t connect on any of its shots on goal with Manalapan goalie Patrick McCarty playing stellar in net.
The junior goalie registered 35 of his game-high 48 saves through the first two periods of the game.
The momentum shifted to Manalapan’s favor in the third period with back-to-back power play opportunities, but it wasn’t the Braves taking advantage of their power play.
Off a nice pass in transition by teammate Zach D’Andrea, Will Herington skated into the Manalapan zone and rocketed it in the shorthanded goal with 7:25 to play to put Jackson Liberty up by a 2-1 count.
“It was definitely a big goal and it gave us a lot of momentum going into the rest of the game,” Herington said. “We were working so hard on the penalty kill and it opened up opportunities for us to score.”
Jackson Liberty was a perfect three-for-three on penalty kills in the contest.
Herington has a team-high three goals through the first two games of the season.
D’Andrea struck into the goal column for Jackson Liberty in the final three minutes of the action to help his team pull away.
Rolling around the net, the senior poked in the wrap around shot for his second goal of the season with 2:16 left to play.
“It was good to be able to help the team put away a nice win in a close game,” D’Andrea said.
D’Andrea has two goals scored and two assists to start the season for Jackson Liberty.
Quinn Daudelin knocked in an open net goal with 1:31 to go to seal up Jackson Liberty’s first victory of the season.
“The way we played in this game is how I want us to play this season.” Weise said. “The guys kept working hard out on the ice. We moved the puck well and our penalty kills were successful all game. We want to build off from this game.”
Junior Joe Mazza knocked in his second goal of the season for Manalapan in the first minute of the contest.
Follow Steven Bassin on Twitter @SBassin_Sports