|High School Ice Hockey:
Late Rally Lifts Cherokee to Game 1 Victory
Friday, February 22, 2002
By Mike Costantino
SJSports Staff Writer
Cherokee scored three goals in a span of seventy-two seconds to erase a 4-2 deficit and go on to defeat Clearview 6-4 in game 1 of the semi-finals in the SJHSIHL varsity playoffs. Sean Zahacewski led the Cherokee attack with two goals and an assist and Gunnar Fox netted a hat trick for Clearview. The first two periods were in sharp contrast to the third period, with strong defense and good goaltending the formula in the first two periods. Fox and Zahacewski exchanged power play goals and high powered offense in the third period as both teams combined for eight goals.
With the score tied at 1-1 heading into the second period, Cherokee had a five-minute power play but failed to generate any offense or shots on the power play. Clearview had their best scoring chance when Dave Gooch broke in and with Sabol down had the puck roll off his stick and slide harmlessly to the corner. Cherokee had another chance to take the lead towards the end of the period. They had a two-man advantage but again could not capitalize. Prior to the game Coach Ketchell felt that if his team showed discipline and avoided the penalty box, they had a good chance of winning. However not capitalizing on their chances looked like it might come back to haunt them.
Early in the third Zahacewski blasted a shot just inside the blue line to give Cherokee a 2-1 lead. Two minutes later, Fox broke in with Jon Probe and Fox banged in Probes' pass to tie the game at 2-2. Fox gave Clearview a 3-2 lead as he one-timed a pass from brother Wyatt from the slot. Less than a minute later, Chris Riggs made it 4-2 as he picked up a loose puck in the slot and ripped it by Sabol. Cherokee showed their maturity and desire as they could have folded at this point but a great hustle play by Zahacewski brought them back. With Cherokee in the midst of a line change he hustled in the offensive corner and kept two Clearview defenders occupied. That left the slot open and Mike Scian, just off the bench, cashed in on Zahacewskis' pass to make it 4-3. Spurned on by that goal, Pat Henderson tied the game at 4-4 just about one minute later. Then after winning the face off, Henderson controlled the puck in the corner and hit Brandon McCarty who redirected the pass while falling down and Cherokee led 5-4. Bill Connolly scored an empty net goal to complete the comeback and Cherokee is now one win away from the finals.
Photos by Art Redd