Mennen Cup final preview- Randolph vs. Morristown-Beard

MENNEN CUP FINAL

2-Randolph vs. 1-Morristown-Beard

Saturday, 4:15 p.m. at Mennen Arena

Previous meetings: These teams met twice early on in the season, with each team picking up a win. Randolph won the season-opener on Dec. 3, 5-3, before Morristown-Beard won 4-3 on Dec. 27.

CUP HISTORY

Randolph

– Five-time Mennen Cup Champion (1992, 1998, 2007, 2008, 2018)

– Runner-up to Madison in last year’s Mennen Cup.

– Third-straight final appearance.

Morristown-Beard

-11-time Mennen Cup Champion (1980, 1982, 1983, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017)

– Missed final in 2019 for the first time since 2013.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Randolph

Kyle Barbera (10 g., 16 a.), Zach Gallo (12 g., 18 a.), Justin Harper (5 g., 9 a.), Ray McNamara (2 g., 10 a.), Michael Sofia (1 g., 9 a.), Evan Xhumba (8 g., 16 a.), Ben Yurchuk (11 g., 19 a.), J.T. Zangara (19 g., 20 a.)

Goalie: Gavin Einfeldt (.944 sv%)

Morristown-Beard

Cam Fernandez (13 g., 24 a.), Hollis Humphries (15 g., 19 a.), Noah Jones (5 g., 13 a.), Seth Kaplan (17 g., 21 a.), D.J. Layden (6 g., 16 a.), Andrew Low (14 g., 17 a.), Tommy Matthews (20 g., 31 a.), Billy Moloney (2 g., 21 a.), Nick Vantassell (12 g., 17 a.).

Goalie: Chili Connell, Paul Detre, or Luke McManus

THE MATCH-UP

This game is your prototypical clash of the titans.

Without question, these teams have been the top two teams in the division all year long, so it’s only fitting they’re the last two standing in this tournament. Randolph has been considered the top public school team in the state all season long- in fact, its only two losses have come to Non-Public schools in Morristown-Beard and Princeton Day. It has not lost to a single public school team all year.

The Rams, under legendary coach Rich McLaughlin, have always been a team built for the postseason in his tenure. The team’s physicality and stifling defensive structure make this squad nearly impossible to play against in the tight-checking win-or-go-home games in February and March. If anybody can slow down the high-flying offensive attack of Morristown-Beard, it’s Randolph.

To that end, Morristown-Beard has about as impressive of a collection of offensive talent as you will find anywhere in the state. Equipped with six players in double-digit goals, to go along with defensemen who can jump in the play offensively in D.J. Layden and Billy Moloney, Morristown-Beard is a threat to make something happen no matter who is on the ice. Since starting the season 0-2 (including the season-opening loss to Randolph), the Crimson have gone 17-2-1, with its only two losses coming to No. 2-ranked Don Bosco Prep and N.Y. power Portledge.

But if Morristown-Beard is going to end its two-year cup drought, it may very well have to win a low-scoring game due to Randolph’s defensive structure, and it will need a big game in goal from whoever of its three goalies that coach Scott Greene goes to on Saturday.

PREDICTION

These are two incredibly talented teams that come into this game with a ton of momentum. Randolph hasn’t lost since its last meeting with Morristown-Beard on Dec. 27, while Morristown-Beard has lost just twice since the turn of the calendar. While Randolph’s structure will be a handful for anyone, Morristown-Beard’s speed will win out.

Morristown-Beard 4, Randolph 3

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