Fresh off winning their division championship on Saturday, the Nutley-Columbia Ice Hockey team won Round 1 in the state playoffs tonight, heading for Round 2 against Montclair on Friday, Feb. 22.
The Nutley-Columbia High School Ice Hockey team became NJIIHL McMullen Cup Champions in just their second season as a co-op program with a 4-2 win over Frisch in a hard fought conference final at Codey Arena in West Orange on Saturday night, February 16.
The teams traded goals in the first two period before Nutley’s Melanie Conca scored her second of the night early in third period and Columbia High School senior captain Eli Verdun tallied the insurance goal with 8 minutes left. Verdun, the team’s leading scorer this season with 18 goals, was also named to the NJIIHL All-Conference Second Team.
Nutley-Columbia Goalie Johnny Matrona made 19 saves to earn the win, putting a cap on his outstanding season, including a state-leading 7 shutouts on the season.
The victory kept Nutley-Columbia undefeated in conference play, extending its record to 9-0-1 in the McMullen Conference, 12-5-3 overall.
On Monday, Feb. 18, Nutley-Columbia won its Round 1 game in the NJSIAA State Hockey Tournament 3-2 against West Windsor-Plainsboro South at Mercer County Skating Center. Rocco Albanese scored two goals and Joe Melillo got the other on a penalty shot (see video).
Nutley-Columbia goalie Johnny Matrona made 33 saves as West Windsor-Plainsboro South outshot Nutley-Columbia 35 to 21. #19 seed Nutley-Columbia now faces #3 seed Montclair on Friday.
Photos are from the McMullen cup victory. Video is from the Playoff Round 1 victory. All are courtesy of Eric Gonon.