It’s a state final that won’t soon be forgotten- especially by the Morris Knolls-Hills faithful.
Jason Kwestel tipped home Dylan Idland’s shot 4:34 into overtime to give Morris Knolls-Hills a 3-2 overtime win over Montclair, giving the team its second-straight Public A title at Newark’s Prudential Center.
Be sure to check out our full game story. Below, you can find more post-game reaction from the coach and players.
COACH TIM KEPLER
On the five-minute boarding major assessed to his team with 1:41 left in regulation…
“I didn’t see it. I kind of wasn’t happy that it was a five-minute major. But they’ve got a tough job out there. They do the best that they can. Knowing those refs, they’ve done a bunch of our games. They don’t want to be the difference-maker out there, I know that, and our team knows that. Giving up two power play goals, we knew we just had to kill it off. We knew once we got into overtime, that we were going to kill it off. We weren’t going to pressure to score the shorty, even though a couple of guys tried. We wanted to get that killed off and get back into our rhythm. We were very confident in it.”
On the break between regulation and overtime….
“It gave our top penalty killers a breather, to be able to finish that off. I think we only used four total- four forwards and four defensemen- they did a heck of a job.”
On Jason Kwestel’s heroics….
“That’s what he does. He’s been doing it since he was a little kid. He’s a gamer. I think I said that after the last game. He makes everyone else around him better. He pushes everybody in practice. We have a good core group of junior guys here who have been sacrificing themselves for a long time. They’ve earned this. Everybody kind of wrote us off, and didn’t think with losing 12 or 13 seniors that we would be back here. That was good motivation to do this.”
On his penalty shot with attempt six seconds left in the second period…
“I came down on the left side, and I was just looking to wait him out, but he just slid across. He’s a really good goalie and I have a lot of respect for him. He made a nice save.”
On the team’s slow start, which saw it go 14:30 without registering a shot in the first period…
“I just think it was like any other game. We were a little nervous. A lot of us haven’t been here before. For the guys who were here, no matter how many times you come here you’re still going to have some nerves. So I just think it took us a little bit, but once we got into it we were rolling.”
On freshman goalie Elliot Marken’s play…
“He was the best player all season, and he was the best player again today. That’s all I can say about him.”
“Our team was playing hard and I knew that we had it in us to win. The second we went to overtime, I knew we were going to kill off the penalty and we were going to score, and we were going to win.. You could feel it in the locker room. Everybody had energy and then Dylan got the goal, and that was that.”
On the mindset going into overtime…
“I was really nervous. The guys were really supportive there, and said that we were going to kill it off. So I got that into my head, and I believed it.”
On what was said in the locker room between periods…
“We were just quiet, sitting there, getting our energy. We were getting those blocked shots, and to kill off that penalty and score.”
On the team’s slow start…
“We’ve been here before. We’ve been outshot 10-0 in the first period and they didn’t score. We’ve gone through it before, and I knew that even if we let in one, we’d pull through.”