|High School Ice Hockey:
Cherokee wins High School Ice Hockey Championship
Friday, March 8, 2002
By Mike Costantino
Bill Connolly, Anthony Diorio and Sean Zahacewski scored two goals each as Cherokee defeated Washington Township 8-5 in the third and deciding game of the SJHSIHL Tier 1 Varsity Championship series. Cherokee started slowly falling behind by two goals in the first period, but as true champions usually do they finished strong scoring four goals in the third period. Township broke out on top first as Nick Martorano scored the first of his two goals, converting a pass after some hard work in the corner by Eric Marano. Connolly, who played his best game of the series, tied the score at 1-1 scoring on a back-hander from his knees with just over two minutes remaining in the opening period. Instead of closing out the period thinking defense first, three goals were scored in the final minute.
Notes: Cherokee broke the string of six consecutive years where the team that won game 1, went on to lose the championship. During the playoffs the league experimented with a third official in the scorekeepers area and in my opinion it was very successful. There were many occasions where the off-ice official would explain the penalty to the offender, and in last nights case, at the end of the game when it looked like something was brewing right after the buzzer, the off-ice official instinctively went to center ice and kept Township players from joining the fracas. With the rule changes the league instituted to cut-back on violence along with the extra official, this should help decrease the number of suspensions next year.
Photos by Joanne Costantino
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