By Justin Kuczborski
Not only are the Caldwell Chiefs talented on the turf, but they are also bring that talent over to the ice. The Caldwell Chiefs hockey team is not its own team, it is migrated with school rivals, West Essex. Despite these school being big rivals, they perform well together on the ice. So far this season, West Essex/Caldwell have 7 win, 7 losses, and 2 overtime losses. This record may not be the best, but it is certainly enough to be the best in the NJIHL-Liberty conference-division. The Chiefs and Knights have played teams in their conference-division six times and have won all of them proving they can compete at the top. Though first in the NJIHL-Liberty conference-division, the two schools are 7th in the entire NJIHL.
To come away with W’s consistently in any sport, you have to have that key player. The player you can rely on to get the game winning goal and set up goals for the team or to defend the one goal lead late in the game. West Essex/Caldwell has those types of players. Players for the team that are known for driving the puck into the back into the net this year is both Jared Huff from West Essex and Max Lewicki from our beloved Caldwell. Both of these players are leading the team with 7 goals. Not only do these top players score, but they can occasionally set up a goal for another teammate.
Speaking of setting up goals, Alex Antonian from West Essex is someone you can rely on to get an assist. Antonian currently has 10 assists along with 4 assists and 14 points leading the entire team. Right behind Antonian in the points column is Brett Feldman with 5 goals and 8 assists. You can not just win games by scoring goals. You have to have a brick wall in net or in other words, a solid goaltender. The “brick wall” for West Essex/Caldwell is Cole Dahlin. Dahlin is not exactly a brick wall nor a hole in the wall for the team allowing a total of 20 goals and a goals against average (GGA) of 2.50, but is still good enough for where West Essex/Caldwell sits in the standings. Dahlin’s save percentage is at .925 which is great for having a puck shot at you 212 times.
West Essex/Caldwell do have players that can put up points, but it is never about the individual player. A team can only thrive as a team. Together, the Knights/Chiefs have accumulated a total of 57 goals, but have also allowed a lot of goals. They have allowed 46 goals, but still not as much as they scored so the team is improving and not declining. From what the scores show, the team has those games where they continuously score goals and the offense is on fire then the games where the offense does not show up. Or the games where the team is just allowing the opposing team into their defensive zone and allowing goals. If there had to be a review about this West Essex/Caldwell duo, it would be that they are an above average team, but lack consistency. If the Knights/Chiefs can just turn the consistency switch on, they could be at the top of the standings in no time.