It didn't take the Ridge ice hockey team long on Thursday night to prove it was the favored team. The result was a 6-0 shutout for Ridge over Brick Memorial in the second round of the NJSIAA Public A state playoffs at the Bridgewater Sports Arena.
Fifth-seeded Ridge (13-5-7) scored twice in the first minute and five times in the first period, while goalie Alec Wells made 30 saves to prevent Brick Memorial from scoring all night long.
The Red Devils will moves on to face Westfield, seeded fourth, on Saturday at 4:15 p.m. at the Ice Vault in Wayne. The game's score was a repeat of Ridge's 6-0 demolition of Fair Lawn on Monday night for the opening playoff game.
Ridge's Tom Carpenter fed Keith Knapp for Knapp to score a goal with the game's first shot just 31 seconds out on the ice. Kyle Leddy buried home a shot 22 seconds later, quickly putting the pressure on the 12th-seeded Mustangs (10-11-4) as Ridge took the early 2-0 lead.
"It was a great to get the first goal," Ridge head coach Tim Mullin said, "It changed everything."
After a Jake Boudreau goal mid-way through the period, Carpenter scored the final two goals of the period — including a breakaway goal — as the Red Devils took a commanding 5-0 lead.
The spurt of goals helped pull Mustangs starting goalie Kevin Talty from the game after the first period.
Alec Wells looked magnificent throughout the entire game, stopping all 30 shots that Brick Memorial threw his way.
"What can you say, he's playing great," Mullin said. "He has a shutout throughout the entire state playoffs so far."
Joe Mandala added a goal with 2:17 remaining on the clock as the Red Devils pulled away in convincing fashion, advancing to the Public A semifinals.
The Red Devils went one-for-six on the man-advantage, with Carpenter scoring the only power play goal late in the first period.
Ridge out-shot Brick Memorial 33-30.
"It's hard to say [how we'll do]," Mullin said about moving forward against Westfield. "We lost to Westfield already this season." Even so, it was only a month since Ridge had to battle Brick tooth-and-nail for a tie.