LITTLE FALLS, NJ — Revenge is a dish best served cold, preferably at an ice rink surrounded by teammates and coaches, friends and family.
Still steaming a year after falling to Wayne in last season’s county final, Lakeland made no mistake this time around as the top-seeded Lancers snapped a two-all tie after two with four goals in the third period en route to a 6-3 victory over second-seeded Wayne and the team title at the 2019 Passaic County Championships at Floyd Hall Arena in Little Falls.
Brothers Bobby and Joey Wogisch each scored twice, Matt Coiley added a goal and three assists while goaltender Luke Joyce, the Big North Conference Player of the Month for December, stood tall with 34 saves to bring the county title back to Wanaque.
“We just came out wanting it, ever since they took it from us last year,” Bobby Wogisch, who capped it off with an empty-net goal in the final seconds, said. “We weren’t happy about it last year and talked about it in the locker room. We bounced back with four goals in the third and took it back. We just wanted it more I think.”
Bobby’s younger brother, Joey, echoed his older sibling’s sentiments.
“We brought it back, we wanted it back — very badly,” Joey Wogisch, who snapped a 2-2 tie with 8:50 remaining in regulation, said. “We just wanted it more. They were tired and we just wanted it. It was here for three years and we got it back this year. We just wanted it more than other teams.”
Twice, Wayne took the lead — 1-0 and 2-1 — but twice Lakeland battled back to tie, including Bobby’s first goal of the game which came with 1:29 left in the second period. The timely goal just before the intermission was a game-changer for the Lancers, which were grossly outshot (25-7) and outplayed for most of the first two periods of play. But the game-tying goal, assisted by Kevin Sidow, raised optimism and shifted momentum back to the Lakeland locker room.
“A really timely goal there at the end of the second period — it gave us all the momentum in the world going into the third,” Lakeland coach Nick Crouch said. “If we don’t score that goal I don’t know if the game would’ve played out the way it did. Hockey is a game of momentum and I told ’em — whoever scores the next goal of this game will probably win.”
Just over six minutes into the third, Joey Wogisch gave Lakeland its first lead of the game, and one the Lancers would not give back. Fifteen seconds later, he scored again sending the Lancers faithful into a frenzy up 4-2 with 8:35 remaining.
“We just kept pounding them,” Joey said. “In the third period, we just wanted it more than them, kept putting goals on and they didn’t know what to do.”
Scott Martin opened the floodgates and made it 5-2 just over two minutes later. Anthony Mazzerina made it a two-goal game again when he converted with 5:02 left but Wayne, which pulled its goalie as time wound, would not creep any closer.
“I really think we controlled the pace of play for the first two periods,” Wayne senior defensive captain Jared Cohen said. “We just didn’t get the bounces and I think that’s what happened tonight. I’m not disappointed with the way my team played. I think we kept it together as a team even when we were down.”
Lakeland, which has won five of the last eight Passaic County Tournaments, ties Clifton for the most county titles with five.
“They were all over us at the beginning of the game — they’re such a well-coached team and play with a lot of energy and passion,” Crouch said, “but we settled down, made a bunch of adjustments and switched up the way we matched up against them.”
Lakeland (15-3-1), which has now won five straight, including a stunning 4-2 upset over Morris County state power Randolph on Saturday, is hitting its stride at just the right moment heading into the Big North Conference finals and state tournament on the horizon. It won both games without the services of leading scorer Drew Lorenz (13-15-28), too, who is still out with an illness.
“We proved tonight that we’re back to being the kings of Passaic County,” Crouch added. “It just shows you can never give up in the beginning even though we they might be outplaying you, we just settled down. Today is a testament to playing a full 45 minutes.”
Wayne (10-6-3), which came in riding a five-game unbeaten streak, had everything going its way the first two frames. If not for the play of Joyce, the Knights could have easily been up two or three more goals than the 1-0 lead it carried into the first intermission.
“After two we were feeling real well,” Wayne coach Joe Belger said. “We knew we had to limit their mistakes in the defensive zone, but I leaned on these guys pretty hard today — the top six forwards, our top two defensemen — Jared Cohen and Ben Friedman — a freshman — probably had 35 minutes of ice time tonight. In these kind of games, you lean on those guys.
“We felt confident going into the third period,” Belger said. “We just knew we were facing an unbelievable goaltender in Joyce. He’s at the top of his game right now and we just didn’t figure him out enough times tonight, that’s what it came down to.”
Passaic County Tournament Champions
2019-Lakeland 6, Wayne 3
2018-Wayne 3, Lakeland 1
2017-Lakeland 4, Clifton 1
2016-Lakeland 7, Wayne Hills 3
2015: Lakeland 4, Wayne Hills 3 OT
2014: West Milford 4, DePaul 3
2013: Wayne Hills 8, DePaul 4
2012: Lakeland 2, Wayne Valley 0
2010: Wayne Valley 3, DePaul 2
2009: Passaic Valley 4, DePaul 1
2008: DePaul 3, Lakeland 0
2007: Clifton 3, Lakeland 2
2006: West Milford 9, Wayne Hills 1
2005: Clifton 4, West Milford 1
2004: Clifton 1, Lakeland 0
2003: West Milford 5, Clifton 1
2002: Clifton 2, West Milford 1
2001: West Milford 2, Lakeland 1
2000: Clifton 3, Lakeland 2
Written by John Christian Hageny / @JCCSPORTS
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