Kane, Meyers lift Morristown-Beard girls to inaugural Librera Cup title

By Mike Gurnis

Beating a team three times in one season always presents a set of challenges, even for a team that constantly finds itself at or near the number-one spot in the state in Morristown-Beard.

That challenge was as difficult as ever in the first-ever Librera Cup final on Thursday night. Pingry, which lost to the Crimson by scores of 4-1 and 5-2 earlier this season, gave Morristown-Beard all it could handle.

But like it often does, Morristown-Beard found a way to pull through.

Behind a clutch goaltending performance from Gracie Meyers and Kailin Kane’s go-ahead goal in the third period, top-seeded Morristown-Beard won the first-ever Librera Cup title with a 3-2 win over second-seeded Pingry at Codey Arena.

“It’s hard to beat a team three times in a season,” Kane said. “Obviously, we really had to bear down today and figure it out in the third period. The first two periods, it was back-and-forth hockey. They get a shot, we get a shot. The third period we just really had to bear down, and I think at the end of the day we did.”

Morristown-Beard found itself trailing by scores of 1-0 and 2-1 in this game, and needed to battle back each time. Jessica Sperling tied the game up at two with a goal late in the second, which set the stage for what proved to be the game-winner from Kane with 5:34 left in the game.

Meyers, a three-year starter for the Crimson, was able to keep Pingry off the board in the third period. The Big Blue out-shot Morristown-Beard, 8-3 in the final frame, but Meyers came up with several clutch saves to put her team in position to win.

“(I was) definitely scared,” Meyers said of the third period. “I was having a little bit of panic, like oh my gosh, what am I going to face? But I know I can trust my team. I put all my faith in them, I put my faith in my coaches and know they will always do the right thing for my team. With trust and confidence in them, we came out on top.”

Kane added, “I’ve played with her since I was six years old. We grew up together. She’s absolutely incredible. Watching her make those saves, and the way she views the game and watches the puck and her tracking is just absolutely incredible. She really saved the game for us today.”

Meyers finished with 18 saves on 20 shots in the win.

Winning this tournament in the first year of its existence since the NJIIHL absorbed girls ice hockey and split it into two divisions, was a goal for Morristown-Beard right from the start of the season.

But it is just the first goal, as it has high hopes of performing well at the WIHLMA Tournament, and the state tournament which gets underway next week. It has won the last two state titles in 2020 and 2022, and will enter the state playoffs as the top seed.

“Our coach says this is our first step,” Kane said. “This was the first win that we wanted. This was the first big that we were working towards since the beginning of the season. He sat us all down and gave us our goals, and this was the first one. So absolutely the motivation is absolutely to carry it on to the state tournament.”

First period
PGY — Keira DeCroix (Alexis Glasofer, Cece Korn) 9:27
MB — Julie Jasaitis (Jessica Sperling) 4:00
Second period
PGY — Charlotte Diemar (Kirsten Kamerkar) 5:33
MB — Jessica Sperling (Lilli Warnock) 3:08
Third period
MB — Kailin Kane (Brooklyn Chen) 5:34

Shots on goal: Morristown-Beard 23, Pingry 20

E-mail Mike Gurnis at michaelgurnis@gmail.com

Donate to the Morris-Sussex Hockey Report via GoFundMe: https://gofund.me/7478f834

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