The Chatham ice hockey team celebrates with their fellow students following their 3-0 win over Ramsey to advance to the Public B State Final. Credits: Tim LeCras
The Chatham bench celebrates following Aaden Staenkelstroem's goal late in the third period of Tuesday's 3-0 win over Ramsey. Credits: Tim LeCras
Chatham goalie C.J. Albanese warms up prior to Tuesday's game against Ramsey. Credits: Tim LeCras
Chatham Hockey Advances to State Final with 3-0 Win Over Ramsey
Wednesday, March 6, 2013 • 12:23am
WEST ORANGE, NJ - Chatham ice hockey head coach Frank Gilberti knew his team was better than the 1-4 start they opened the season with.
In his first season as head coach, the Cougars have had their ups and downs, but on Tuesday night at Codey Arena, Chatham's 'up' went over the edge, beating Ramsey 3-0 to move on to the Public B State Final.
"I'm lucky I have a very good team," Gilberti said with a huge smile. "Nothing more, nothing less than that. They did the work. They deserve it. I'm very proud of them."
The Cougars very well could have played their best overall game of the season. After a sluggish first period, Chatham put up three goals in the final 30 minutes to advance to their second state title game in the past four years.
Chatham's William Barnett opened the second period with a goal in the first three minutes on an offensive drive that started with a center-ice face-off. The first goal was all that Cougar goaltender C.J. Albanese needed. He faced only 12 shots in the game and just two in the third period.
"We've done that to teams all year long, but how many times do you look at the stat line?" Gilberti said. "How many shots did they give up? Often times all you look at is did they win or did they lose. That was a little deceiving to everybody who played us because our record wasn't phenomenal."
Albanese has been the backbone of this team all season. The frontman in a defense that Travis Terzer said is responsible for the team's trip to Saturday's title game.
"It starts with the defense," Terzer said. "We played tough "D" the whole time in the defensive zone. We're blocking shots and we're getting to the red line, dumping it in and forechecking really hard.
Tight defense led to Chatham's second goal at the 11:44 mark of the third period. With the Cougars killing off a penalty, Terzer stole the puck at his own blue line and scored on the ensuing breakaway.
"The shorthanded goal, I'd like to say we drew it up that way, but its just a great individual effort by Travis, using his best asset which is his legs," Gilberti told The Alternative Press. "He has a hot stick right now, he just needs to keep shooting."
For a team that struggled with their specialty units early in the season, the power play and the kill have carried Chatham in the last two games, accounting for three of the team's nine goals.
The Cougars are now 14-4-3 since their first five games of the season, going into Saturday's championship game with a 15-8-3 record.
The Public B State Final will be played on Saturday at 3 p.m. from Prudential Center in Newark.