The Ridge High School and Bridgewater-Raritan High School hockey teams faced off for the Bridgewater Sports Complex Holiday Tournament Championship Monday afternoon. Undefeated Ridge had a slow start but came back from a 2-1 deficit to score three unanswered goals in the third period to win the game.1st 2nd 3rd FINAL Ridge (9-0-1) 1 0 3 4 Bridgewater (6-2-1) 1 1 0 2
Bridgewater broke the ice with a goal from Steven Cleary at the 8:44 mark of the first period. Ridge answered back off the stick of Kyle Leddy just 48 seconds later to tie the score.
Cleary would score another goal just 36 seconds into the 2nd period to put Bridgewater back in the lead. And the Panthers would hold that lead through the next 20 minutes.
"We weren't playing to our potential in the first couple periods," said Kyle Leddy. "We talked in the locker room between periods and said we just have play the way we know we can play." Ridge returned to the ice for the third period a revitalized team.
The tie goal came from Joe Mandala with an assist from Matt Zarabara. "It was very exciting," said Joe Mandela. "In a lot of games, we come from behind, it's kinda what we've been doing."
The go ahead goal would come from Eric Menzel just a minute and a half later. "(Kyle) Leddy was taking it in, the puck just came on my stick, I shot it, got the rebound and put it in," said Menzel. To finish off the scoring, Leddy would score again from Zarabara and Mandela.
"It is always good against Bridgewater, it is a big rivalry," said Matt Zarabara who had 2 assists in the game. "I wish we played like we did in the third period more often. We will figure it out during the season."
Ridge will travel to the Rock Ice Pavillion, Dunellen, to play Watchung Hills Regional Friday at 6 p.m.