Shore Conference hockey is always fun to watch, but sometimes tragic events can be on the mind over a game. On the morning before this game, Susie Howard, mother of Marlboro forward Sam Howard passed away. With this on their minds, the Mustangs did not let this stop them from competing and getting a 3-1 victory over Freehold Borough.
“We dedicated the game to her and tried to win the game for her,” said Marlboro head coach Wayne Anderson.
In the first period, you could tell their minds were not completely in the game with this news. It was a sloppy defensive battle all period long, with a couple of opportunities that Marlboro let slip past them.
“When we first stepped on the ice, we were still pretty upset,” said Marlboro defenseman Brandon Kelly. “Coach told us to keep grinding, try not to think about it too much, but still use it to go at the other team harder.”
During the second period, Marlboro was able to take advantage of several Freehold Borough penalties with two power play goals. The first was by forward Sidney Christianson with 13:35 to go that put them up 1-0.
Then, Kelly added another power play goal with 4:40 left in the second period that gave Marlboro some insurance and ultimately the game-winner.
“I was just trying to step up and throw it on net to see if there was a screen there and it just happened to squeak through on the left side,” noted Kelly.
Freehold Borough had one highlight in this game with a breakaway by Kevin Hart to make it a 2-1 game with 30 seconds left in the second period.
However, penalties continued to hurt the Colonials, as they gave up another power play goal in the third period to Christianson again that put the game away for the Mustangs.
Defenseman Mike Falzone was specifically a problem in this area for Freehold Borough, as he committed three penalties in this game and two of those resulted in power play goals for Marlboro.
After this game, Marlboro goes to 2-5-2 and Freehold Borough goes to an abysmal 1-6 record.
While it was Freehold Borough that made the costly mistakes in this game, coach Anderson is aware that Marlboro did not play great in this game, specifically because they had 43 shots on goal and only came up with three goals.
“We need to play better,” said Anderson. “We left a lot of pucks sitting in front of the net.”
With the struggling offense, coach Anderson had a simple message going forward for them:
“Play better or you’re getting benched.”
Aside from their issues on the ice, their off the ice issues with Susie Howard will not be forgotten this season.
“We’re going to dedicate the rest of the season to her,” said Anderson. “We’ll rally around that, this will keep us focused, and it will motivate us to improve every time.”
Marlboro faces Fair Lawn on Saturday at 6:15 pm at Jersey Shore Arena while Freehold Borough goes onto face Freehold Township right after that at 8:15 pm.