By Mike Gurnis
MORRIS TWP. — After seeing six crucial points slip away in its first three Mennen Division games, Chatham was desperate to get back into the win column.
On Saturday evening, it certainly played like a desperate team. The Cougars came out firing early, outshot Morristown 46-8, and capitalized on the power play three times en route to a 6-1 win over Morristown for the team’s first Mennen Division win of the season.
Michael Sciaretta recorded a hat trick, while Matt Keane found the back of the net twice for a Chatham team that had struggled to find its footing in the early part of the year due in part to some key injuries, including to its starting goaltender, Zach Pendergrast.
In Pendergrast’s absence, Sam Rowland stopped seven of the eight shots he faced on Saturday.
“Just confidence-wise, its huge for us,” Chatham coach Brendon Herr said. “Being a younger team- half of our varsity roster is new players that have never played together before. So it was good for us to get some chemistry going on the ice tonight, and we obviously put a couple in.”
It didn’t take very long for Chatham to find its way onto the scoreboard. It peppered Morristown goalie Dylan Peck with shots in the early going, and the team drew two penalties in the opening five minutes. On the team’s second power play opportunity, it was Michael Sciaretta who found the back of the net after picking up a loose rebound in the slot to give his team the lead 3:42 in.
Just 2:05 later, Matt Keane buried one off an assist from Danny Mahoney to extend the lead to two.
Chatham continued to dominate for the remainder of the game, which included a second period in which it did not surrender a single shot to Morristown, as it out-shot the Colonials 20-0 in the period. The shot disparity was thanks in large part to the amount of power play time Chatham had in the period. It spent more than half of the time with a man-advantage, as Morristown took five consecutive penalties, including a five-minute major.
The Cougars took advantage, as Keane and Sciaretta scored 36 seconds apart on a pair of 5-on-3 goals to give the team a commanding 4-0 lead. Evan Schmidt and Sciaretta each scored in the third period, with Sciaretta’s goal coming on the power play.
In total, Chatham capitalized on the power play for four of its six goals.
“Before the game, we were talking about our roles on the team,” Michael Sciaretta said. “I think that really helped. Knowing what you’re supposed to do, that was something our team had last year, and that was something we needed to translate into this year. I think we found it in this game, so that’s a positive coming out of this.”
C — Michael Sciaretta (Evan Schmidt, Danny Mahoney) 11:18 PPG
C — Matt Keane (Danny Mahoney) 9:13
C — Matt Keane 5:52 PPG
C — Michael Sciaretta (Colin Pierce, Danny Mahoney) 5:16 PPG
C — Evan Schmidt (Michael Sciaretta, Nick Meyer) 14:30
M — Sean Donnelly (Conor Critchley, Harry Santen) 4:54 PPG
C — Michael Sciaretta (Colin Pierce) 1:13 PPG
Shots: Chatham 46, Morristown 8.
Saves: Dylan Peck (M) 40, Sam Rowland (C) 7.
Team records: Chatham 2-3, Morristown 0-4.
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