Seeded first in the NJSIAA Public B state tournament, the Chatham High ice hockey team came out strong and showed its depth and determination, overpowering 17th-seed Northern Highlands 11-1 at the Mennen Arena Thursday.
Connor Nelson scored the first of his two goals just 57 seconds into the first period on an assist from Alex Rauter. At 8:29, Danny Casey scored the first of his three goals on an assist from Trip Burke.
Northern Highlands got on the scoreboard with its lone goal from Ryan Ertmann at 8:50. At 14:25 Jake Pyhel scored the first of his two goals to close out the first period with Chatham ahead 3-1. The Cougars were off and running.
In the second period, Jake Pyhel picked up where he left off just 54 seconds in with an unassisted goal. Rauter's turn came at 5:09 and 10:22, scoring his two goals, both with an assist from Billy Pellegrino. Nelson scored at 11:13 on an assist from Brian Weismantel and Connor Mackin, leaving Chatham on top 7-1 at the end of the second period.
Casey got his second and third goals at 2:10 and 7:00 of the third period, with assists from Nelson and Rauter. Chatham closed it out with an unassisted goal from Eric Drury and a goal by Jake Knightly on an assist from Trip Burke at 12:50.
The Cougars had 44 shots on goal, whereas Northern Highlands managed just eight.
With the win, Chatham improves to 18-3-3 and advances to the quarterfinals against Ramsey Sunday at Ice Vault in Wayne at 6:30 p.m.