Newly merged team trying to meld


Dana Swarts via Twitter

WMPQ celebrates first win.

Jared Miller, Sports Editor

Beginning the season after the recent merge, the West Milford-Pequannock ice hockey team looked for success early to improve upon the struggling season both teams had last year.

The new team faced a challenge in their season opener due to the limited practices that the group had together. The first game against Ramapo was a dramatic to start the season. In the first period, WMPQ took the lead with a goal from West Milford sophomore, Patrick Smits. The first period remained 1-0 as time expired. In the second period, Ramapo bounced back and tied the game 1-1 which stayed that way until the third period. Just around 14 minutes passed and a minute was remaining in the game when Pequannock senior Will Keaveny scored the game winner, securing the first win in the program’s history. West Milford junior Nick Johansson made 37 saves in the win.

After their first win, the team was unable to get another tally in the win column. The team fell to Hanover Park 4-3. In their second meeting with Ramapo, the team came up just short after letting up a goal with just over a minute left and went on to lose the game 4-3, followed by a loss to Ramsey by a score of 1-0 after letting up a goal with one minute and 25 seconds left in the third period. The struggle continued for the team as they faced Indian Hills the 12th ranked team in the state according to preseason rankings. Indian Hills, offense was explosive and they won the game 8-2. The next game was a matchup against Ridgewood. WMPQ had an atrocious first period and fell behind 5-1; the game ended by a 6-2 score.

On December 10th, WMPQ got back on the board with a 4-1 win against Fair Lawn. Pequannock senior Justin DeIntinis scored two goals, along with one goal from Pequannock junior, Joe Pedicone, and a goal from West Milford freshman, Charlie Beigel, who scored his first career varsity goal. Pequannock players with assists were seniors Justin DeIntinis, Mike Kretkowski, and Jason Pohlod. West Milford players with assists were junior, Evan Brown, and senior, Jared Miller. The goalie was West Milford senior, Nick Wallace, who made 15 saves in the win.

The season is just beginning and with a 2-5 record, the WMPQ team has plenty of time to turn their season around and have the success that the merged teams want to have.