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High School Ice Hockey:
Four Goal Third Period Puts Cherokee in Finals

Friday, March 4, 2005

By Mike Costantino
SJSports Staff Writer

Cherokee rallied from a 5-3 deficit, scoring four goals in the final eleven minutes, to upset top seed Moorestown 7-5 and move into the final round against Washington Township. Lou Sarcone led the attack with four goals and Matt Loprete added two, Moorestown had goals from five different players. In front of a standing room only crowd at the Skate Zone in Voorhees, both teams came into the game knowing that if you lose your season is over. Super sophomore TJ Brennan put Moorestown on top early in the game as his slap shot along the ice found the long side corner for a 1-0 lead. Cherokee had some opportunities to tie but Colin Higgins stoned Zach Sawyer and Pat McMahon to keep Cherokee off the board. Late in the period Cherokee had a two-man advantage, but excellent penalty-killing by Kevin Schaffer and Mike Bodine denied Cherokee.

After Schaffer and Sarcone exchanged goals in the first five minutes of the second period, another talented sophomore, Justin Kinniry for Cherokee, set-up Sarcone on a nice give and go to give Cherokee their first lead at 3-2 at the half-way point of the game. When Mike Weaver tied the score at 3-3 on a perfect pass from Mike Furey, the game seemed to take an interesting turn. With Moorestown having a two-man advantage in the final minute, Kyle Rupin’s slap shot from the point beat Bobby Casolaro to give Moorestown a 4-3 lead with twenty-three seconds left in the period. Coach Rumbus of Cherokee then yanked the senior goalie in favor of back-up Joe Allen. My first thought was why?? Two nights earlier Casolaro was the main reason Cherokee defeated Rancocas Valley. So when Furey scored in the first minute of the third period to put Moorestown ahead 5-3, I’m sure many fans were asking the same question. Kinniry got that goal back less than three minutes later as he stole the puck and scored on a quick shot to cut the lead to 5-4. Then with Moorestown down a man, Kinniry found Sarcone all alone in front and he picked the top corner for his third goal and a 5-5 tie.

With the partisan Cherokee crowd now back into the game, Matt Loprete, on some great fore checking by Dan Altieri, gave Cherokee the lead scoring on the short side with just over two minutes left in the game. Moorestown pulled Higgins for an extra attacker, but Sarcone ended any hopes of overtime with an empty net goal.

Notes: After the game Coach Rumbus defended his decision by stating, ”On the fourth goal I felt that Bobby should have stopped it and at that point I wanted to make a change.” Right or wrong, the result is Cherokee is in the championship round.

Photos by Art Redd

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