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High School Ice Hockey:
Just-in Time, Cherokee rolls over Township

Monday, March 7, 2005

By Mike Costantino
SJSports Staff Writer

Justin Kinniry, Patrick McMahon and Lou Sarcone, combined for 12 points as Cherokee rolled over Washington Township 10-6 in championship playoff action at Hollydell. In handing Township its first loss in the double elimination tournament, Cherokee will now host Township on Wednesday night at the Skate Zone in Voorhees. Fred Brewer scored three goals for Township and Kinniry also had a hat trick for Cherokee. Township will need stronger play from their defense and better goaltending, but that still might not be enough as this Cherokee team has raised its level during this tournament. After Brewer gave Township its only lead at 1-0 early in the game, Cherokee scored twice in less than two minutes to take control of the game. First Sarcone broke in with defenseman Steve Sheridan, who had a solid game for Cherokee, and after drawing the defenseman over Sarcone slid the puck to Sheridan and his one-timer beat Matt Corvino and tied the game at 1-1.

Just over ninety seconds later Dan Altieri dug the puck out from the corner and found Matt Loprete at the top of the circle and his quick shot found the net and Cherokee led 2-1. Kinniry added a breakaway goal later in the period and Cherokee was in control at 3-1. A pattern seem to be developing, as Township allowed two goals on odd-man rushes and the second period would produce more of the same. Bobby Casolaro was back in goal after being yanked from the Moorestown game and although he surrendered six goals he made some key saves with the game still close as he stoned both Chris Kaiser on a breakaway and Sean Rainey from point blank range. With Township having no answer for the Sarcone line, they struck again, this time scoring seconds apart, both on odd-man rushes, Kinniry was sent in by McMahon and Sarcone, then right off the center ice face-off, Sarcone was sent in by McMahon and suddenly it was 5-1. Those two goals seem to deflate the Township bench and they never recovered. Later in the period Township had a four-minute power play and got some life as Andy Rohach scored from in close to cut the lead to 5-2. But thirty seconds later Loprete scored his second goal of the game, short-handed, again on a break to put Cherokee ahead 6-2.

Rob Hniedziejko got one back for Township late in the period, but two more odd-man rushes late in the period, led to goals by Zach Sawyer and McMahon and the second period ended with Cherokee in command at 8-3. Brewer scored on the power play in the opening minute of the third period to make it 8-4, But four minutes later Kinniry completed his hat trick with a nice pass from McMahon and the lead grew to 9-4. Brewer and Kaiser added goals later and McMahon closed out the scoring with four minutes left.

Notes: Township must concentrate on defense first if they intend on beating Cherokee on Wednesday, surrendering seven goals on odd-man rushes will not win you any game. They must also figure out how to slow down Sarcone, McMahon and Kinniry. My guess is Cherokee will be celebrating its first championship since the Pat Henderson/Chris Sabol led team a few years ago.

Photos by Art Redd

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