MORRIS TOWNSHIP, NJ — Been there, done that.
After securing the Haas Cup four years ago — and the Halvorsen Cup last winter — Madison added the Mennen Cup to its repertoire as Dave Renzulli scored twice and assisted on Jason Siedem’s game-winner with 11:22 remaining in regulation as the Dodgers skated away with a 3-1 victory over Randolph in the 44th cup finals at Mennen Arena in Morris Township.
Despite falling behind, Madison was never deterred. Senior goalie Matt Ubertaccio finished with 28 saves, including several gems in the game’s closing moments as Madison, No. 8 in the Hockey Night In Boston New Jersey Top 10, exploded on to the ice in celebration.
“Falling behind definitely put us back a little, but I knew my team was going to come out even stronger after they scored — and that’s what we did,” Ubertaccio said. “We got that late goal (in the first period) and that was a huge momentum-changer going into the second period.”
Top-seeded Randolph (18-4-2), the defending Mennen Cup champions which entered the contest having split its two regular season matchups with Madison, struck first when Justin Harper corralled a loose puck in the Madison zone, skated right and fired a wrist shot that clanged in off the crossbar.
Madison (16-3-5), which extends its unbeaten streak to 14 games (12-0-2), was able to tie it later in the first before taking its first lead of the game early in the third period when Renzulli carried the puck down the right side and sent a cross-ice pass to Siedem on the left wing, who beat Randolph goalie Evan Einfeldt (18 saves) with a high shot.
Siedem set up Renzulli’s equalizer with 52 seconds left in the first period before Renzulli returned the favor when Siedem buried a pass on a 2-on-1 just 3:38 into the third period giving the Dodgers a 2-1 lead it would not relinquish.
“I was just taking it up the ice.” Renzulli said. “I saw Siedem with me. I know I can always depend on him so I just kind of flicked it to him. He got a good shot off and it just went in.”
The goal was Siedem’s 16th of the season.
“It was a great play from the defenseman getting it up to Dave,” Siedem said. “We got a nice 2-on-1, he made a pass over and I was lucky enough to put it in.”
Siedem’s goal still left Randolph within striking distance and the Rams really put the pressure on during a power play that came with 6:25 to play by firing five shots on goal that Ubertaccio turned aside during the man-advantage.
“It was definitely a stressful couple of minutes there, knowing that we had the lead, “Ubertaccio said. “I just had to stay calm and do my job and just stay relaxed and that’s what I did. The defensemen moved the man out and I just watched the puck and made the saves.
“That power play was a scary moment for us, but we all came together,” the Madison senior netminder said. “Right before the faceoff and we just knew if we all did our job and did it right, we’d have no problem getting the puck out of the zone, that’s what we did. My defense were pushing everyone out and I got to see those pucks pretty clearly. I couldn’t have done it without then tonight.”
Renzulli secured the victory with an empty-net goal with 52 seconds remaining.
“To be honest I didn’t know,” Renzulli said of his empty-netter. “I just heard everyone screaming, ‘shoot the puck.’ I looked up and I see it and I just go for it and I’m just so happy it went in.”
Just a little more than a minute prior to Renzulli’s tying goal, Randolph ran a shot off of the right post that would have provided the Rams with a 2-0 advantage.
“We make a mistake and they get a goal,” Randolph coach Rich McLaughlin said. “That’s what it comes down to and we have to move on from here.
“We hit a post, we hit a head, it’s just bad puck luck for us,” the long-time Randolph coach said. “I don’t want to take anything away from them, but we couldn’t score goals tonight. We just couldn’t get a rebound, the puck was bouncing around and that’s what we need to work on more than anything else is working around the net a little harder.”
The Mennen Cup is a first for second-seeded Madison (16-3-5). Combined with the Halvorsen Cup that they won last year and their Haas Cup in 2015, the Dodgers are the first team win all three of those pieces of hardware.
Madison, which also snared the second-seed in the NJSIAA Public C Tournament, awaits the winner of Jackson Liberty and Mendham.
It will be uncharted territory from here for Madison, which will look to continue to rewrite the record books after making it to the Sweet-16 last season.
Randolph will be looking to rebound in the NJSIAA Tournament with the top seed in Public B. The Rams will play host to the winner of Passaic Valley-Cedar Grove and Park Regional in the Sweet-16.
The eight-time state champion Rams will be eyeing its first NJSIAA title since 2015.
— Madison Dodgers (@Dodgershockey) February 16, 2019
Mennen Cup Champions
2018-Randolph GAME STORY
2017-Morristown-Beard GAME STORY | GAME STORY
2016-Morristown-Beard GAME STORY
2015-Morristown-Beard GAME STORY
2014-Morristown-Beard GAME STORY
2013-Kinnelon and Morris Knolls co-champs GAME STORY
2012-Morris Knolls BOX SCORE
2011-Morristown-Beard BOX SCORE
1994-Delbarton and Morristown-Beard co-champs
1990-Delbarton and Morris Knolls co-champs
— Madison Athletics NJ (@DodgerAthletics) February 16, 2019
Written by Gerry Davidove
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