NJS.com Staff Writer
WEST ORANGE - Despite finishing second in the Central Conference Red Division, few felt that Montclair was ready to face the rigors of post-season play. The Mounties proved everyone wrong on Saturday afternoon at South Mountain Arena in West Orange.
Using a physical style that included some strong forechecking, they won the McInniss Cup for the second straight season with a 2-0 shutout of Clifton. The win moved Montclair to 11-9-4 on the season, while the Mustangs fell to 11-6-6. It was also the third time this season that the Mounties shut out Clifton as the two played a scoreless tie and Montclair took a 2-0 win in regular season games.
Despite a 12-2 advantage in shots on goal in the first period, the game remained scoreless, in large part due to the fine play of Clifton goalie Jason Zuck, who finished with 28 saves. The 'Stangs had a couple of second period chances to break the deadlock, but were turned away by Montclair goalie Jesse Rogers, who made 14 saves in the game.
With 5:53 gone in the second period, Montclair finally solved Zuck. Josh Madej got to a loose puck in front of Zuck, coming out of a pile of players in front and netting a backhander. The Mounties added the second goal on a 3 on 1 break. Dylan Minert carried the puck in and drew a defender towards him. He spotted Bracken Healy charging in on goal and set him up perfectly. Healy hit a one-timer that blazed past Zuck as he lunged towards the shot.
Each team took only one penalty, with both coming in the third period 1:25 apart, but neither had a solid chance for a score. Montclair was able to bottle up any Mustang forays into the offensive zone, frustrating Clifton with good pokechecks as well as solid positional play.
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