Summit Boys' Ice Hockey Falls Short of Fourth Straight County Title
Coach Nixon says the Hilltoppers, who were the defending county champs, couldn't get a physical game going against Westfield. Up next: Summit heads to State Tournament Feb. 28.
The Summit Boys’ Ice Hockey team fell short of a fourth consecutive county title tonight, as Westfield clinched the Union County Cup, 3-1.
Head Coach Keith Nixon said Westfield is a bigger team and the Hilltoppers, who now stand at 17-4-3 this season, couldn’t get a physical match-up going against them.
“Westfield just played really, really well tonight. Physically, we had some trouble handling them. They did a really good job of shutting down our offense. They played the body well and took away a lot of our opportunities,” Nixon said. “We had power play chances that we just didn’t convert on. We missed a few really good opportunities right in front of the net. It was a hard fought, tough game. They’re a good team and when two good teams play each other, somebody’s going to win.”
Liam McLaughlin scored the Hilltoppers’ lone goal and was named the county tournament MVP, having scored 11 goals in three games, Nixon said. Goalie Garrett McGowan also had a strong performance in the net.
Summit (6th seed) will now enter the NJSIAA State Tournament, Public B on Thursday, Feb. 28. Rumson (11th seed) will play Tenafly (22nd seed) on Feb. 26, and the Hilltoppers will face the victor.
Nixon said he’s confident the team will be ready to play.
“We’ve only lost four games and the players don’t take losing lightly. There are some things we’re going to work on in practice as far as correcting some of the mistakes we made tonight,” Nixon said. “The team as a whole didn’t take losing this game lightly and they will be ready to play on Thursday. I’m sure of that.”