FARMINGDALE, NJ — Don’t stop, get it, get it.
Tyler Schultz erased the deficit, Michael Mumm’s power-play goal gave them the lead, but it was Andrew Qian’s shorthanded goal, assisted by Dylan Foley with 5:31 remaining in the opening frame, which proved to be the game-winner as Livingston held on for a 3-2 victory over Manalapan at Howell Ice Arena.
Nicholas Weissman gave Manalapan a 1-0 lead just 50 seconds into the first game of the season for both teams, but it did not faze Livingston on the road in a hostile environment as the Lancers replied with three straight goals in a span of 5:43 en route to a big first win of the season.
“The shorthanded goal was possible because we forechecked hard,” Qian said. “Foley got the puck towards the net, I shot the puck and it bounced off a couple feet and found its way into the back of the net. The first game of the season both teams were chippy and undisciplined at times but we pulled through at the end.”
“I thought we had a good effort going on the road for the first game of the year and getting the win,” Livingston coach Dave Conklin said. “A little sloppy at times and some mental mistakes, but overall a nice game.”
Manalapan got the start it was looking for when Weissman set the tone less than a minute into the action, but the marker lit a fire under Livingston, which responded in a big way.
“Right off the first whistle we scored on a blue line dump in from junior defenseman, Nick Weissman, but from there Livingston slowed down our offense outshooting us 9-7 in the first period,” Manalapan coach Matt Inzerillo said.
“Livingston’s game-tying goal came a few minutes later when their player threw the puck off the skate of one of our players. A few minutes later, Weissman took a penalty that put Livingston on the power play, then the go-ahead score,” Inzerillo said. “I’ve been telling my team since we have a handful of first-year varsity players — we have to stay out of the box.”
Just 56 seconds after Schultz tied it, Mumm converted to hand Livingston a 2-1 lead, but Mumm, who provided the go-ahead goal, was whistled for roughing just two minutes later, sending Manalapan back on the power play seeking the equalizer with the man-advantage on home ice.
The power play did not have the effect Manalapan designed, however, as Qian provided the difference-maker, shorthanded, less than five minutes later sending Livingston into the first intermission with a 3-1 lead in the locker room.
After a scoreless second frame, Joe Mazza brought Manalapan back to within one, 3-2, with an assist from Ryan Bechutsky with 2:55 remaining in regulation but it was not to be for the Braves in their home opener.
“We need to capitalize on opportunities,” Conklin said. “I thought we had a lot of offensive zone time and outshot them by a good margin. Younger guys getting their first real varsity action did a great job and we’ll build off this first game.”
Trevor Dzama finished with 12 saves for Livingston, preserving the win. Pat McCarty had 26 saves for Manalapan.
“We had a chance late in the first when we went on the power play, but Livingston’s forecheck caused the turnover and they scored shorthanded,” Inzerillo added. “The second period was filled with fast-paced play and big hits. I was happy with our effort and fight, but we failed to capitalize.
“With 10 minutes left to play, we had a great opportunity to get back into the game with a major penalty (called on Mumm for cross-checking), but Livingston was tough on the penalty kill and escaped unscathed.”
Manalapan pulled McCarty in the waning moments looking to pull even, but the push for the equalizer came up short.
“I’m proud of their fight and I think there are a lot of positives to take from this loss,” Inzerillo said. “Livingston is one of the better teams we will see all year and it was a good test for our young team.”
“We came out hard and ready to play,” Mumm, whose power-play goal gave Livingston its first lead of the game. “We really stuck to what we do best an that’s how we landed on top.”
“It feels great to get our first road win,” Qian added. “There still is a lot of work to be done before playoffs but I believe the team can do it.
Written by John Christian Hageny / @JCCSPORTS
Special to HockeyClan
Photos by Mark Carosiello / @SnapthePicture6
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