Klotz's OT winner lifts Morristown
In a game where scoring chances were almost impossible to come by, Morristown’s Jordan Klotz knew he needed to do something special, something different to create an opportunity for his team.
Four minutes into overtime of a 1-1 game with Montgomery, Klotz pushed the puck forward off of an offensive draw and while flying through the air a la Gordie Howe, the senior snapped home a shot top shelf to put his team in the semifinals of Public A.
“We had been winning face offs back all game and I knew from where the face off was that if I wanted to get off a shot the right line was to go forward, so I just tried to trick him and I guess it worked,” said a beaming Klotz after the game.
Freshman goalie Shane Brown turned in an another gem between the pipes for the Colonials, turning aside 17 of 18 shots and giving his team and Klotz the time needed to find the game-winner.
“Just one save at a time,” said Brown of dealing with the pressure of such a big game at such a young age. “Sure it’s a huge game but you can’t focus on that. You just take each chance as it comes to you and if one gets by you, you shake it off and keep rolling with it, just try to give us a chance to win.”
Brown’s best flurry came with his team down two skaters following back to back minors 20 seconds apart in the second period. After two quick saves and lined up one on one in the slot with one of Montgomery's best snipers Jeff Garinger, Brown channeled his inner Patrick Roy and snatched a missile tracking for the upper corner -- doing so with plenty of style and as if it were somehow easy.
Garinger would later get the best of Brown during the man advantage with another rising rocket, but the ability of Brown and his defense to limit Montgomery to just one on the long power play was a huge turning point in the game.
“I knew it was going to be a one goal game, two of the best defensive team's in the state and taking advantage of the opportunities that were there was going to be the key,” said Jones. “We got a couple bounces, an unbelievable performance from our goalie and Jordan made a fantastic play so we get to move on. It really could have gone either way.”
Morristown is enjoying its most successful hockey season ever, 21-4 in conference play and Halvorsen Cup champs with the success due in large part to a solid defense backstopped by Brown. Including Saturday’s win over Montgomery, Morristown has surrendered a meager 26 goals in total all season.
“He’s been phenomenal for us all year,” said Jones of his frosh keeper. “In our first game this season he was so nervous but we knew he was a phenomenal goalie and would be a big part of us doing what we wanted to do. You saw it the way he played tonight, he saved us tonight, he really did.”
With the win comes a chance for Morristown to build on this already improbable run and for coach Jones, it's a chance to defeat the school where he played his high school puck, Morris Knolls.
“I’m excited about the opportunity but the goal is still in front of us. We have never been here before but we are certainly not intimidated and we’re definitely not complacent. It’s no time to celebrate; we have a lot of work left to do. We know Knolls will be a challenge but we feel like we’re up to it.”
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