By Brian Deakyne
RED BANK — As Dominic Roncace skated off the ice after the second period, he screamed in anger, looking at his teammates and challenging them.
Roncace actions summed up the mind-set of Rumson-Fair Haven who, after a dominant two periods, trailed Manasquan 1-0.
“We were executing our game plan and controlling the play in the offensive zone for a good percentage of the game,” Rumson-Fair Haven head coach Chris McCafferty said, “We wanted to get more traffic in front and we wanted the second shot and that’s how we got our first goal.
“It was a matter of getting the puck to the net from everywhere. If you can’t get a pass and a nice play, get it to the cage.”
It didn’t take long for the Bulldogs to answer the challenge set to them by Roncace.
Rumson-Fair Haven scored twice over the first four minutes of the third period to top Manasquan, 2-1, Monday night at Red Bank Armory.
Hunter Rotchford evened the score when he put home a rebound 29 seconds into the third period.
Gary Cali threw the initial shot on net, and Rotchford was waiting to the right of the crease, where he found the puck and slid it into the net.
“Gary had a good shot,” Rotchford said. “I was glad to be there for the rebound. It was horrible [to not score earlier]. I knew we were going to get one in, it was just horrible when it didn’t.”
“Scoring early in a period builds the confidence for your team, plus it stifles the other guys,” McCafferty said. “It built us up and I think we controlled the game from there-on-out.”
Three minutes later, Brian Robinson put the Bulldogs up for good, scoring on a breakaway with 11:31 remaining in the game.
Robinson took a pass from the defensive zone at center ice, and quickly skated in alone on net. He ripped the left-handed shot between Manasquan goalie Bronson Ligouri’s right arm and leg, giving the
Bulldogs the 2-1 lead.
The Blue Warriors gave Rumson-Fair Haven a scare in the final minute, forcing three shots on net with an extra attacker, but Bulldogs’ goalie Dominic Padula stood tall, turning away 10 of the 11 shots that he faced on the night.
RFH out-shot Manasquan 34-11 throughout the game, including a 13-0 advantage in the second period.
The win comes three days after the Bulldogs’ suffered their first loss of the season in a 5-2 loss to Point Pleasant Boro and extends their divisional lead over Manasquan, who entered the game in second place in the Shore ‘C’.
“It’s really important. We didn’t play a good game against Point. We didn’t play with any intensity [in the loss]. We talked to the team about playing with hunger and that passion to win. Not expecting to win, but working to win. We wanted to get back to the blue-collar type of attitude,” McCafferty said.