|VIDEO: Freak goal gives Livingston state win over River Dell|
Hockey players accept wild bounces as part of the game. But the carom that decided the first-round state tournament game between Livingston and River Dell/Westwood was shocking even by hockey standards.
Livingston captured the game, 3-2, on the goal with 51 seconds left in regulation. River Dell won a face-off in its own end, and looked to clear the puck out of the zone. But the clearing pass hit a Golden Hawks player in front of his own net, and caromed directly past the goalie.
Jake Crockett got credit for the goal as the last Livingston player to touch the puck. Crockett also scored a conventional goal in the second period and assisted on the Lancers' first score for a three-point effort.
Chase Friedfertig had the other Livingston goal and added an assist. Matt Delseni made 15 saves for the Lancers.
River Dell climbed out of a 2-0 hole with a pair of second-period goals from Joey Ragno. Matt Ajello played well in net for the Hawks, stopping 31 shots, including a barrage in the final few minutes as Livingston looked for the game-winner that would eventually come in such strange fashion.
River Dell/Westwood, the 19th seed in the Public A state bracket, sees a strong season come to a jolting end. The Hawks finish at 15-7-3.
Livingston, the 14th seed, is now 15-9-1. The Lancers meet fellow Essex County squad Montclair in the second round of the Public A states; Livingston had a tie and a loss in two regular-season games against the Mounties.
For sports video highlights of this New Jersey high school boys' ice hockey state tournament game, click play in the box at left.