Highlanders end a most successful season

Ice hockey team loses to Middletown North in state tourney

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The 2013-2014 season for the West Milford Highlander hockey team was an incredible one for the boys, a big success for them, finishing their regular season 12-7-4. This is a young Highlander team with nine freshman and only three seniors.

Conference tournament loss to Wayne Hills

The first conference tournament game was held on Feb. 14 in Wayne against Wayne Hills.

Though Wayne Hills dominated the first period, the Highlander defense stopped any scoring. West Milford's Chris Dressler scored the first goal of the game at 9:46, unassisted. Dressler had another close shot, but the goalie blocked the puck. Both teams were very aggressive throughout the entire game. Goalie Ross Mantione stood out in the first period, prompting statistician Ally Mantione to remark about her brother, “Ross, you’re unstoppable.”

Four minutes in to the second period, Wayne Hills scored its first goal of the game. Joe Fenui secured the next West Milford goal with an assist from Dressler. Fenui just missed another goal, as the puck hit the post.

With less than a minute into the third period, Wayne Hills scored. Less than three minutes later, Hills scored again for a 3-2 lead. The Highlanders had opportunities. There were two instances where the Highlanders had a 5-3 advantage but they just couldn't get it in the net. Wayne Hills scored at once more, leaving West Milford out of the running for Conference champions.

State tournament loss to Middletown North

On Feb. 25, the Highlanders faced off for their final game of the 2013-14 season. West Milford was the 19th seed and faced Middletown North Tigers, the 14th seed.

After a two hour bus ride to Middletown, the team was very enthusiastic and optimistic. They had already captured the county championship title in January and hoped to move up in the state tournament.

Middletown scored five minutes into the first period. The Highlanders had some opportunities to score, but the goalie deflected every shot. Joe Fenui, Alex Crevina, and Mark Crevina came the closest to scoring, but nobody succeeded.

The second period saw more offense, but the Tigers were still the only team to score, twice.

Behind 3-0, the Highlanders went back on the ice for what would be their last period of the season. Middletown scored one more goal, icing a 4-0 victory.

-Alison Cosgrove

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