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High School Ice Hockey:
Undermanned Vikings Defeat Township To Capture 1st Place

Monday, January 18, 1999

By Mike Costantino
SJSports Staff Writer

The Eastern Vikings defeated Washington Township 7-4 in a game played at the Coliseum on Monday night. Missing six players due to illness and injury, Coach Pontonio said prior to the game, "Lately our team has been playing real well since we had made some roster changes. Tonight however we need to concentrate on our defense."

Less than three minutes into the game, Mike Becker scored for Eastern to give them the early 1-0 lead with the assist going to T.J. Connelly. Township answered two minutes later as Adam Zaccaria tied the score at 1-1 with Joseph Pelle assisting. Despite having only two lines, the Vikings seem to have the edge in speed. With Township down a man, Mike Becker scored his second of the game on the power play with Jason Knee and Joe Jurkofsky assisting to give Eastern a 2-1 lead. With Eastern carrying the play for most of the period, their defense was led by Adam Levenson clearing the puck and not allowing Township to generate much offense. The big question was how much would the Vikings have left by the third period. However, with just over three minutes left in the period, Zaccaria made a perfect pass to Eric Marano for a tap into an empty net and the score was tied at 2-2. The Vikings answered again with just over a minute to go as Mike Cianfrani scored with Ryan Levenson and Adam Levenson assisting and a 3-2 lead.

After killing off a two man disadvantage, the momentum seemed to have switched to Township when Tom Paolucci tied the score at 3-3. Eastern responded as Mark Manara gave the Vikings a 4-3 lead heading into the third period as he scored on a breakaway.

Eastern started quickly as Brett Picciotti scored on a breakaway and the Vikings had a 5-3 lead. But over the next 4 minutes, Township outshot Eastern 9-1, and Derek Poletis brought Township within 5-4 when he scored at the eleven minute mark. Vikings goaltender Mike Kappeler however made several outstanding saves. When Adam Levenson scored with six minutes to go, and a 6-4 lead, it was apparent this night belonged to Eastern. Bob Ianni closed out the scoring as he tallied with four minutes to go and a 7-4 final.

With the win, Eastern moved into first place and Coach Pontonio was ecstatic after the game saying , "This was a big win for us, to beat Washington Township as shorthanded as we were. I'm really proud of these kids and the effort they gave tonight."

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