KOMJIAN’S HEROICS, WANDS’ DRAMATICS LIFT LAKELAND
With the higher-profile Bergen County Tournament final set for Thursday, the six-team Passaic County Tournament proved it would take a back seat to nobody on Monday with a dramatic championship game. Favored Wayne Hills (7-4-2) needed a Robbie Testino goal with three-tenths of a second (0:00.3) to force overtime in a 3-3 game against division rival Lakeland (10-6-1) and outstanding goaltender Sean Komjian (58 saves). In the extra session, Lakeland’s Chris Wands needed just 51 seconds to net the game-winning goal and give the Lancers their second title in the event’s 14-year history, both coming in the last four years.
MADISON ON THE MOVE
Bridgewater-Raritan is the state’s top unbeaten team, but little Madison (the fifth-smallest school with a stand-alone hockey program) is the other at an unprecedented 17-0. Playing out of Morris County’s Haas Division, the Dodgers’ resume includes wins over Roxbury, which tied Chatham on Monday; Mendham, Public B semifinalists last year; and a three-game sweep of Tenafly, Livingston, and Nutley at the South Mountain Holiday Tournament. To test themselves further, the Dodgers added old rival Morristown (which has played in three consecutive public state championship games) to their schedule for Feb. 7.
Madison has been led offensively by senior Kyle Midlige (15-14-29), junior Michael Gleason (13-16-29), and freshman Jack DeBoer (15-8-23), with sophomore Charlie Cleaves (6-13-19) and junior Jimmy Piechnick (3-10-13) among the key blue-liners in front of sophomore goalie Kavi Sinha.
Founding members of Morris County’s league back in 1975-76, Madison had made just one Mennen Cup playoff appearance in the 24 years prior to the creation of the Haas Cup in 1999-2000. A division title this year would be Madison’s second (the first came in 2009), and if Madison should win the Haas Division, it would have the option of moving up to the Halvorsen Division next year, a level at which it has never played since the league implemented tiered alignment in the mid-1980s.