Dec. 16 Notebook: Morristown bounces back to beat Madison

Back-to-back games can be a struggle for any hockey team at any level.

Especially a day after a hard-fought tie with a strong team.

On Thursday, Morristown battled to a 2-2 tie with Mount Olive-Hopatcong-Hackettstown, and bounced back with a solid 5-1 win over Madison on Friday at Mennen Arena.

Junior Jackson Byrne tallied two goals and an assist, while Brody Toye netted two goals. Freshman John Mrotchek added a goal and two assists.

It got out to a bit of a slow start in the first period before picking up its play towards the end of the first period. It was rewarded when Brody Toye scored in the final two minutes of the period, before Byrne scored five minutes into the second on a power play to extend the lead. Mrotchek scored before the end of the third to make it a three-goal advantage.

“Our game yesterday, we just didn’t have the greatest start,” Toye said. “We were just slow, and I think that was our focus for today. We needed to come out fast and that’s exactly what we did.”

Madison made things a bit interesting midway through the third when Kyle Piechnik scored a power-play goal to cut it to 3-1. It didn’t take long for Morristown to respond, though, as Byrne scored 1:35 later to restore the three-goal advantage.

Toye scored in the final minute to cap off the win.

Byrne and Toye are part of a very strong junior class for Morristown, which also includes standouts in forwards Liam Wilson, Clark Smith, Collin McKenna, as well as Toye on the back-end and goalie Thatcher Neville.

“We’ve been playing together since freshman year,” Toye said. “Me, Jack, Liam, Clark, Collin, we’ve all been playing together for awhile. I think just our chemistry that we’re building, it’s going to be great for the next two seasons.”

It knows that its toughest battles are still ahead of it, as it will play its second Mennen game of the season on Monday when it takes on Morris Knolls-Hills.

“We came up from the Halvorsen this year to the Mennen,” Toye said. “All of these teams are going to be a battle, every single game. I expect nothing less than a Mennen Cup championship.”

Madison, on the other hand, despite the loss put up a solid effort after a pair of lopsided losses to Mount Olive-Hopatcong-Hackettstown and Randolph to open the year. It fell to 0-3, but will have a chance to get in the win column on Monday when it takes on Kinnelon-Jefferson-Sparta.

A late third-period goal from Jack Martinez helped Morris Knolls-Hills break through for a 3-1 win over Kinnelon-Jefferson-Sparta at Skylands Ice World.

With the game knotted up at one, Martinez scored with 5:02 to go to put his team in the lead. Luke Dickerson buried his second goal of the game on an empty-net goal with nine seconds left to improve Knolls-Hills’ record to 2-1.

KJS goalie Rylan Gibbons had another strong outing, as he turned aside 33 of 35 shots. Joey Kopec scored a power play goal in the second period to tie it up. It was the team’s first loss of the year after wins over Mendham and Johnson, both of which were shutouts.

Aidan Marvin, on the other end, stopped 20 of 21 shots to continue his great start to the year for Knolls-Hills.

Zach Gallo netted four goals to lead Randolph to a 6-2 out-of-conference win over Watchung Hills at SportsCare Arena.

Randolph improved to 3-0 with the win, and Gallo now holds five goals and three assists through those three games.

Jase Zangara dished out three assists, while Jack Rueff scored twice for the Rams. Connor Thomas made 21 of 23 saves in the win.

Randolph will take on Hunterdon Central on Wednesday at SportsCare Arena in another out-of-conference match-up.

Hopewell Valley 6, High Point-Wallkill Valley-Kittatinny 2
Lacey 6, Morris Catholic-St. Elizabeth 1
West Morris at Brick (score not reported yet)

Morristown-Beard 4, Pingry 1
Randolph at Princeton (score not reported)
Chatham vs. Westfield (score not reported)

E-mail Mike Gurnis at

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