While it didn’t get off to the start it was hoping for, Mendham finished strong in its first game action since Jan. 23.
In a rematch of last season’s Halvorsen Cup final, which was won by Mendham, Mendham came up with three goals in a span of 59 seconds in the third period to pull off a dramatic 5-4 win over Roxbury at Mennen Arena.
It was Mendham’s first win of the season after tying KJS United and suffering losses to Mount Olive-Hopatcong-Hackettstown and Madison.
Early on, it appeared Roxbury was on its way to some revenge for last year’s final, as Jake Kooyenga and Nick Thomas each scored in the opening 2:23 to build a two-goal advantage.
Slowly but surely, Mendham started to find its footing and became more comfortable. Michael Gionco got the Minutemen on the board late in the period to give the team a bit of a boost heading into the intermission. Then, Mac Goggin’s power play goal in the second period tied the game.
It seemed all but inevitable that Mendham was going to take the lead at some point, but Roxbury goalie Ryan Callahan did what he could to prevent that, as he registered 36 saves. Mendham even had a power play to start the third which was killed off, and just seconds after, Roxbury’s Randy DePalma put his team in the lead once again.
In a wild, penalty-filled third period, it came down to the final minutes. Tristan Aikenhead’s shot found its way through traffic with 4:05 to go to tie the game, before sophomore Shane McCarthy scored the go-ahead goal with 3:12 left. Right off the ensuing faceoff, Aikenhead’s shot rebounded out to Lloyd who put home what ended up being the game-winning goal just six seconds later.
There were some tense moments for Mendham in protecting that lead, as it was assessed a five-minute major with 1:59 left. Roxbury cut the lead to 5-4 on Joe DiDomenico’s goal with 31 seconds left, but was unable to complete the comeback.
— That had to feel good for Mendham. After a brutal 10-1 loss to Madison on Jan. 23- followed by nearly three weeks on the shelf- it found a way to break through in the win column. It may not have been pretty, especially in the third period, but what matters is it came out with the win. It’ll go for its second on Saturday when it faces Montville at 6:15 p.m.
— Mendham out-shot Roxbury, 41-19 in this game. After Roxbury opened up the game with two-straight goals, it seemed as if Mendham just slowly took this game over. The second period, specifically was impressive, as it felt like most of the time Mendham was in the attacking zone. Roxbury goalie Ryan Callahan deserves a lot of credit for keeping his team afloat in this one.
— Roxbury will have no time to sulk over this one. It will be right back at it at 3:30 p.m. tomorrow when it faces an extremely talented Madison team.
First star: Liam Lloyd, Mendham- game-winning goal
Second star: Shane McCarthy, Mendham- first career goal
Third star: Ryan Callahan, Roxbury- 36 saves
ROX — Jake Kooyenga (Nick Thomas) 14:15
ROX — Nick Thomas (Tristan Tantillo, Kyle Jenkins) 12:37 PPG
MEN — Michael Gionco (Ian Tamboowalla) 3:45
MEN — Mac Goggin (Griffin Jozefek) 10:41 PPG
ROX — Randy DePalma (Kyle Jenkins) 12:39
MEN — Tristan Aikenhead 4:05 PPG
MEN — Shane McCarthy 3:12
MEN — Liam Lloyd (Tristan Aikenhead) 3:06
ROX — Joe DiDomenico (Nick Thomas, Kyle Jenkins) 0:31 PPG
Shots on goal: Mendham 41, Roxbury 19
Team records: Mendham 1-2-1, Roxbury 4-2