BRIDGEWATER — Kyle Leddy wasn’t going to let Monday’s Public A quarterfinal matchup against Brick be the last time he suited up for the Ridge High School ice hockey team. Behind Leddy’s four goals, including the game-winner with 2:35 remaining, third-seeded Ridge knocked off sixth-seeded Brick 6-5 at Bridgewater Sports Arena.
“This win means everything. I’m a senior and I didn’t want this to be my last game,” Leddy said. “I didn’t want this to be the last time I put on this uniform so I did everything I could to will us to victory. I felt great coming into this game and it paid off.”
With Brick’s Brian Lang in the penalty box for slashing and 4:21 remaining, Leddy and his power play unit mates went to work, keeping possession in the offensive zone for the first 1:10 of the advantage. But with 12 seconds remaining on the minor penalty, the puck ended up in front of the Brick net and Leddy pounced, banging home his fourth goal of the contest to put the Red Devils ahead for good.
“I couldn’t care less who scored that last goal,” Leddy said. “We’re ecstatic to win this game.”
After the first period, it didn’t look like the game would come down to the final minutes. Leddy scored twice in the period, including a beautiful one-time goal at the 5:42 mark to put Ridge up 2-1.
Then, the Red Devils got two goals in the final 94 seconds of the period, including a wrap-around goal from Tim Knightly with just 5.3 seconds before the buzzer to go up 4-1.
But Brick wouldn’t go down quietly, scoring four of the next five goals to tie the game at 5 with 6:04 remaining. Andrew Reiss struck for three second-period goals and Tyler Iannarone deflected home the tying goal with a gorgeous redirection in front of Ridge goalie Robbie Fenton.
“The boys left it all out on the ice tonight. They worked really hard and it was a tough way for our season to end,” Brick head coach Bob Auriemma said. “They poured their hearts and souls into this team. They worked hard and it was really difficult to not come out of here victorious.”
Ridge prevailed in faceoffs, earning 28 of 48 draws, but the teams each fired 25 shots on goal. Fenton finished with 21 saves and Brick’s Jake Lampiasi stopped 19 shots.
Reiss, who tallied six points in Brick’s second-round win over Hillsborough, was a force in the second period, constantly using his strong body to move smaller Ridge defenders out of the way to get to the net.
“We knew we could come back in this game,” Reiss said. “I was just trying to get to the net and take advantage of the rebounds that Fenton was giving up. I did all I could to just be physical and lead this team.”
The Red Devils will play second-seeded Randolph in today’s semifinals at Codey Arena in West Orange. Leddy knows that if Ridge plays its game, it will have a great shot to emerge victorious and move on to the state final at Prudential Center this weekend.
“We need to just keep playing the way that we’re playing,” Leddy said. “We need to show off our offense a little bit and get our defense playing well and keep playing Ridge hockey. The goals will come.”