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High School Ice Hockey:
Eastern Works Overtime To Capture JV AAA Crown

Sunday, February 28, 1999

By Mike Costantino
SJSports Staff Writer

Eastern defeated Washington Township 6-5 in overtime as Eric Piccotti scored the game winner and gave the Vikings the JV AAA title in a seesaw affair. After failing to hold onto leads of 3-0 and 5-3, Eastern scored in the first seventeen seconds of overtime and ended the season for the Minutemen. Township had lost only once during the regular season, also to the Vikings.

Ben Cooperman gave the Vikings the early 1-0 lead as he scored at the twelve-minute mark of the first period. Both teams had chances on the power play and with three minutes left in the period, Mike Purwin capitalized for Eastern with T.J.Connolly assisting, and the period ended with the Vikings up 2-0.

When Gary Koehl scored for Eastern early in the second period to make it 3-0, things did not look well for Township. Eastern took some undisciplined penalties and gave Township a two man advantage. Tom Niccoletti made it 3-1 with Eric Marano assisting and still time left on the advantage. Tom Davies scored for Township to cut the deficit to 3-2 with Mike Mazzuca assisting. Now back in the game, Township continued to put the pressure on. With five minutes left in the period, Ken Condit tied the game at 3-3 with Mike Murro assisting.

Township had numerous chances as they totaled twenty shots for the period. However, Matt Gutstadt made several outstanding saves to keep his team tied. With just under four minutes left, Koehl scored his second of the game and Eastern led 4-3. Just twenty-two seconds later, T.J. Connolly would give the Vikings a 5-3 lead on a feed by Piccotti.

Entering the period down by two goals, Township kept the pressure on and Joe Pelle scored on a pass from Eric Marano and it was 5-4 with eleven minutes to go. Three minutes later Marano would tie the score at 5-5 on a pass from Niccoletti. Township outshot Eastern in the third period 12-5 but Gutstadt came up with several key saves to keep the game tied, and allow for Piccotti's heroics.

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