WEST ORANGE — Chase Friedfertig employs a straightforward attitude whenever he hops over the boards.
“The mindset is pretty simple, and that is that we are not going to lose,” Friedfertig observed.
The nimble senior forward helped make sure of that by scoring four goals to go with an assist and Adam Steiner netted a pair of goals and Max Solomon collected three assists to send Livingston to an 8-2 victory over Gov. Livingston in a NJIIHL McInnis Division battle at Codey Arena, South Mountain in West Orange.
“If another team is going to beat us they are going to have to work pretty hard to do it,” added Friedfertig, who has 26 goals now this winter. “We are here to play hockey whenever we put the uniform on.”
That was evident from the onset as the Lancers, who extended their winning streak to five games and improved to 12-3-4 overall, got their forecheck going consistently from the opening faceoff as they built a 3-0 advantage after 15 minutes of hockey.
Friedfertig got it all started when he sent a long shot from inside the blue line near the right point for a 1-0 lead as Solomon assisted 1:58 into the contest.
Just over two minutes after Soloman rang a shot off the Gov. Livingston crossbar, Matt McLaughlin’s attempt through a screen made it 2-0 with 6:10 left.
Livingston, which has suffered two of its three losses to Summit, No. 6 in the Hockey Night In Boston New Jersey Top 10, and the other to third-ranked Randolph, continued to pressure on the forecheck, sending two forwards sweeping into the corners. And after forcing a faceoff at the left circle in the Gov. Livingston zone, Steiner collected his first of the game with a snap shot off that draw with 24 seconds left in the period to extend the lead to 3-0.
“Our forecheck worked very well today,” said Steiner, a senior with six goals and eight assists. “They like to use the boards on breakouts, so we were sealing that avenue off as much as we could and tried to force them to the middle of the ice. We know what we are capable of and after the first period with the three-goal lead, coach (Dave) Conklin told us to stick to our game plan and the rest of the goals would come.”
Gov. Livingston (3-11-2), which entered the contest 2-2-1 in its last five games, responded with its own pressure in the second period. And after some muscular work along the right half wall in Livingston’s end, Kyle Wahlers chipped a loose puck past Livingston goalie Matt Delseni (15 saves) 5:17 into the second period to cut the deficit to 3-1.
“They’ve got some good speed,” said Wahlers, a senior forward. “When we cut it to 3-1 we definitely thought we could come back. There was a lot of time left, but they’ve got a lot of speed and really had their forecheck going. Our record doesn’t show our true skill level. We were a little off on our D-zone coverage and had a couple of missed assignments and that hurt. We got it to 3-1 and then they wiped out our momentum.”
Indeed, less than a minute later it was Steiner who erased the Highlanders’ energy, using a top-shelf attempt through traffic to restore the three-goal lead and extend the Livingston lead to 4-1.
The Highlanders sliced their deficit again when Brian Gray drifted low into the circle and one-timed a feed from Drew Skotarczak with 7:41 left for a power play goal and a 4-2 game.
But then Friedfertig took command of the remaining time and netted three more goals while Tyler Schultz came through with his first goal to close out the second as Livingston opened a six-goal margin.
“We set the tone early in the game” said Livingston coach Dave Conklin, whose club threw 27 shots on the Gov. Livingston goal while allowing 17. “We stressed before the game we needed to establish an aggressive forecheck and maintain it, and we did. Our guys all had good shifts and we built off of that first period momentum. Every game is important now, so we have to play our best in every one of them. We want to dictate the play, and our mindset is refuse to lose.”
Written by Paul Bruno / @PaulBrunoHS
Special to HockeyClan
Photos by Paul Bruno / @PaulBrunoHS
HockeyClan continues to upgrade its apps to benefit their growing hockey community.
Want to write about hockey? Join the HockeyClan community! While you are here visiting Rate Rinks! You can rate every rink you have ever been to based on the most important criteria. Interested in doing your own Player’s Blog? Send your hockey story to us at email@example.com