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High School Ice Hockey:
Four To Score For Sarcone As Cherokee Reaches Finals

Wednesday, March 3, 2004

By Mike Costantino
SJSports Staff Writer

Louis Sarcone scored four goals to lead Cherokee over Rancocas Valley 10-5 and advance to the finals in the SJHSIHL Tournament against defending champion Eastern. Patrick McMahon and Kevin Magnin added two goals for Cherokee while Ryan Smith led the Rancocas attack netting a hat trick. Rancocas carried play for the first half of the opening stanza, and Cherokee did not register a shot until the midway point. That shot however turned out to be a goal as McMahon broke down the right side and ripped a shot by Kevin Kraft. Cherokee made it 2-0 as Dan Altieri dove to keep the puck in at the point and McMahon drove to the net after Kraft made the initial save. Altieri was right there to jam home the rebound. Smith cut the lead to 2-1 in the last minute of the period on a break.

Rancocas carried the momentum over into the early moments of the second period. Defenseman Ray Mellon split the defense and when Bobby Casolaro came out to challenge him, Mellon slid the puck to Smith who buried his shot into the empty net to tie the game at 2-2. Frank Luciano gave Rancocas a 3-2 lead fourteen seconds later as he scored from just inside the left face-off circle. Goals by McMahon and Sarcone put Cherokee up 4-3. Once again, Rancocas came back as Mellon skated in the slot and using the defenseman as a screen ripped a shot over the glove of Casolaro and the seesaw affair was tied at 4-4. Goals by Magnin and Angelo DiBattista put Cherokee ahead 6-4 going into the third period.

After Ryan Smith cut the lead to 6-5, Casolaro made the save of the game as he stoned Sean Mellon on a breakaway. Sarcone then scored two goals to put Cherokee up 8-5. Rancocas then took three consecutive penalties and never got a chance to mount a comeback as Cherokee scored two power play goals and won going away.

Notes: Cherokee is still riding high on emotions and will it be enough to dethrone Eastern? Coach Rumbus assembled this team knowing Eastern was the team to beat and some fans were grumbling early in the season. Don’t think you can question him now as he has his team poised for an upset.

Photos by Art Redd

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