By Brian Deakyne
RED BANK — The time and score were irrelevant.
With time running down in their 4-1 win over Red Bank Regional, Rumson-Fair Haven captain Gary Cali took possession of the puck and had one thing on his mind.
He did just that, scoring his second goal as time expired in the third period, putting an exclamation point on the Bulldogs (3-0) three-goal win, Saturday night at Red Bank Armory.
“We just wanted to win the third period,” Cali said. “We only had one goal in the third period, so I wanted to put the game away.”
RFH controlled the game throughout the night, out-shooting the Bucs (0-3), 39-8, holding Red Bank Regional scoreless through the first period.
“We needed to get more traffic in front of their goaltender,” Rumson-Fair Haven head coach Chris McCafferty said. “For the most part for the first two periods, their goaltender was seeing the initial shot. Charlie’s a good goalie. If you give him an opportunity to see the shot, it’s going to be tough to score on him.
“We needed to get more traffic in front of the net, and keep putting the puck on net to tire him out.”
Bucs’ goalie Charlie Fox was impressive in net, turning away 35 shots, but Red Bank Regional couldn’t find their offensive touch to help him, totaling just eight shots — with six of the eight coming in the second period.
RBR was 0-5 on the powerplay, getting just one shot on net through all five man-advantages.
“Our penalty kill is good. We pressure the puck, we have guys that are fast, so we try to take away their time and space, and we did a good job on the kill,” McCafferty said.
Christian Mindich opened the scoring 1:41 into the second period, when he took a rebound that was knocked around the crease and lifted it over the blocker of Fox, putting the Bulldogs on top. They held a 13-0 advantage in shots before they finally put their first in the net.
Later, Brian Robinson added a goal, taking a pass into the slot and ripping a wrist shot past Fox, putting Rumson-Fair Haven in control.
Cali scored his first goal of the night early in the third period, taking a puck in the neutral zone, beating one defender and lifting a shot top-shelf, giving the Bulldogs the 3-0 lead.
Nick DeSalvo scored the lone goal of the night for Red Bank Regional, taking a pass off the left wing and sliding it into the net in the final minute of the third period, seconds before Cali added his second goal of the game.
“I thought we really played well in the third period,” McCafferty said. “In the first two periods, with the crowd and everything the energy level was up but we forgot what we had to do. I’m happy with it, but I thought we played a lot better in the third period compared to the first and second.”
The win is the third on the season for Rumson-Fair Haven, who looks to be an early favorite in the Shore ‘C’ division.
“RBR is our rival, and it’s really good to get the win,” Cali said.
Rumson-Fair Haven went 0-2 on their power play, totaling seven shots between the two.