|VIDEO: Smalec's 42 saves allow Montclair to tie Livingston|
If Montclair is to enjoy another successful ice hockey season in 2016-17, goalie Ondrej Smalec is going to have to do a lot of heavy lifting. Based on the results of the Mounties' first game, the senior may well be up to the task.
Smalec made 42 saves, including 25 in the second period alone, as Montclair held Livingston to a 1-1 tie at the Codey Arena. The Lancers came in as one of the favorites in the NJIHL McInnis Division this winter.
Montclair lost its top nine scorers from last year's team, so offense is expected to be a big issue for the Mounties. It didn't seem that way in the game's opening moments, though, as Pat Ledgett set up Cary Colucci for a goal just 21 seconds into the contest.
The remainder of the first period was fairly even, but Livingston took complete control in the second stanza. The Lancers had three power plays and outshot Montclair 25-2 in the period, but couldn't get anything past Smalec.
The Lancers finally broke through five minutes into the third period when Ronan Tattersall pounced on a rebound of a shot by Chase Friedfertig. Both teams had opportunities in the final minutes but neither could snap the tie.
Matt Delseni made 11 saves for Livingston, which was also playing its first game.
Montclair won the NJIHL American Division last year, but the league is changing after Union County's teams decided to join. Summit and Westfield will be in what is now known as the McInnis Division, the highest division in the league, along with Livingston, Montclair, Verona and Montclair Kimberley.
For sports video highlights of this New Jersey and NJIHL high school boys' ice hockey game, click play in the box at left.