Chatham did not take kindly to falling to Middletown North in the NJSIAA Public B State Tournament last year and has had nothing but revenge and complete domination on its mind in the early part of the 2017-2018 season.
The Cougars got off to a hot start with a statement victory over Morristown-Beard on opening night and had no problem taking care of Roxbury before setting its mind on a third-straight Mennen Division opponent on Wednesday night in Morristown.
Brendon Herr had a simple game plan coming into the match-up against and that was to be physical from the get-go and the Chatham did not let their coach down in a 3-1 victory over the Morristown at Mennen Ice Arena in Morristown Wednesday night.
Matt Keane took a pass from Nate Marshall from behind the back of the net and beat Morristown goaltender Derek Peck to the stick side and the Cougars never looked back to improve to a perfect 3-0 on the season.
“We are playing with a lot of confidence right now and we are just trying to take this one game at a time,” Keane said. “It was a very physical game from the start and we used that to our advantage. We got a few checks behind the net and Nate Marshall set me up with a great pass and I was able to put the puck in the back of the net.
“This is a very tough division to play in and we can’t look ahead and have to focus on each individual opponent,” Keane added. “This was another big step tonight and we have to keep building off of it.”
The Cougars have been a force to be reckoned with on the offensive side of the puck, scoring 13 goals in the first three games, but it was the defensive effort and job in net by Zachary Pendergrast that proved to be the decisive weapons against Morristown.
Chatham’s defensive unit killed off all five power-play opportunities they faced and the Pendergrast, a junior, stopped 17 of the 18 shots he faced in between the pipes.
“Starting fast has helped us through these first couple of games and I think that momentum-game is huge for us,” said Herr. “This complete effort was good to see tonight and the power-play goal we scored along with the team’s ability to kill penalties in this game was a big reason why Chatham skated away with the victory.
“Special teams is huge for us and when we can minimize their opportunities and take some time and space away from their skill guys, it helps us out on the penalty kill,” Herr said. “A lot of our guys did a great job with that tonight.”
Sophomore David Andreychuk continued his electric start to the season for Chatham and increased the Cougars lead to 2-0 on the power-play with 2:27 left in the first.
Andreychuk snapped a wrist shot and was able to beat Peck to the glove side and has continued to impress time and time again so far the early part of the season and leads Chatham with four goals and six points.
Chatham held a 12-6 shot advantage over the Colonials after the opening period and the Cougars came out roaring again to start the second. It took just 2:32 before Evan Schmidt was able to put home the decisive blow.
Schmidt, a junior forward, was able to put home a perfect pass that was set up from Alex Laferriere from behind the net to score his second goal of the season and make it 3-0.
“Our offense continued to stay hot tonight and the defense and penalty kill did a great job,” said Schmidt. “Zach did a great job in net for us and it was a complete team effort tonight.”
Drew Shandley was able to finally crack through in the third period for his first goal of the season for Morristown at the 7:53 mark, but it was not enough to propel a Colonials comeback.
Meanwhile, Peck, the team’s senior goaltender, was outstanding in net, keeping his team in the game all night with 32 saves.
Morristown (1-2-1) will look to bounce back against Kinnelon on Friday night, while Chatham (3-0) looks to stay perfect against Vernon on Saturday.
Written by Chris Costa/HockeyClan.com
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