by Andrew Garda
WEST ORANGE — Third time just wasn’t the charm for the Montclair Mounties hockey team Monday night, as they lost to Livingston, 1-0, in the McInnis Cup Tournament.
The teams had met two times before, tying in both cases, with scores of 0-0 and 1-1, respectively.
This time out, it was much of the same defensive style of grinding hockey which had marked the first two meetings, with both teams jamming up the neutral zone and both goaltenders stopping the few shots which made it through their defenses.
Livingston’s goalie, Gabe Mayants, was a first team All Conference player, with Mounties goalie Gus Bylin on the second team. MHS defender Will Schiffenhaus and forward Pat Ledgett were also named first team All Conference.
With that much talent on the ice, these two teams will always put on a strong show for their fans in what has become a strong rivalry.
With coring chances at a premium, onlookers knew the game would come down to one bounce of the puck, and unfortunately for the Mounties, it went against them.
With 5:16 left in the second period, Livingston’s Matt Solomon fired in a wrist shot from close to the point. Bylin looked to have it handled, but the puck squirted through. Neither he nor a nearby Mountie defender were able to stop it from just barely sliding past the goal line.
While the Mounties had their chances after that, they were never able to quite find the back of the net missing on several great passes across the front of the Lancer net and clanging a shot off the goal post with 45 seconds left, then failing to knock the rebound home.
While MHS’ season isn’t quite over — they will find out where they are seeded for the State Tournament on Tuesday — their shot at the conference title is done. If they want to challenge for the state title, they’re going to have to find a way to generate some more offense, and make sure the next time a puck bounces, it lands in their favor.
For a complete breakdown of the game as well as quotes from players and coaches, check out Thursday’s print edition of the Montclair Local as well as the MontclairLocal.news website.