|High School Ice Hockey:
Meyers and Schellenhammer Lead Vikings to Crown
Monday, March 10, 2003
Danny Meyers first period performance kept Eastern in the game and Bryan Schellenhammer scored two goals in the third period as the Eastern Vikings defeated Clearview 7-4 to win the SJHSIHL Championship on Monday night at the Skate Zone in Voorhees. Clearview peppered Myers in the first period, launching twenty shots to just six for Eastern and made stellar saves on Dave Gooch, twice, stoned Bill Dunbar on a break and robbed Chris Riggs from in close. Riggs finally put Clearview up 1-0 putting home a rebound after Wyatt Fox hit the post. Unable to generate much offense in the first period, Eastern was very fortunate to trail by just one. They quickly tied the game as the second period started with the Vikings on the power play.
Sean Sullivan found Anthony Orner in the slot and his quick shot tied the score at 1-1. Rob Nevitt gave Eastern a 2-1 lead as he scored from in close on a feed from Anthony DeFino less than a minute later and just like that, the Vikings had the lead. Clearview went the first five minutes without a shot on net as the Vikings prevented Clearview from any odd-man rushes. Finally, at the nine-minute mark, Dunbar got the equalizer and Clearview had new life.
With the game now tied, the intensity seem to pick up and both teams were more careful in their own zones. With just about two minutes left in the period senior defenseman Joe DiLauro, playing in his final varsity game, sent a pass off the boards to Nevitt who found a streaking DeFino and his shot found the net for a 3-2 Vikings lead. Chris Leig scored seconds later to ignite the bench and Eastern led 4-2. However, with eighteen seconds remaining in the period, Fox picked off an errant clearing pass, and lifted a back-hander just under the crossbar to bring Clearview within 4-3.
Coach Pontonio has used Schellenhammer at defense for most of the season, but during the playoffs has spotted him at forward. Schellenhammer responded in the seasons biggest game. Using his speed he skated down the right side, went around the defense, and put Eastern up 5-3 early in the third period. Moments later he kept the puck in at the point and shot the puck towards the slot and had it redirect off a defenseman and into the net. With that goal Eastern had a 6-3 lead. Riggs added a goal with two minutes left and Sean Sullivan added an empty net goal for Eastern to secure their first championship since 1999.
Coach Pontonio, before being doused with water after the game, was asked to compare this team with his previous two championship teams. “[I] felt this team showed a lot of heart, not many people picked us to win it this year.” Next year with most of the team returning and a talented JV team, the only question will be if Meyers returns for his senior season.
Several awards were handed out before the game by the SJHSIHL and SJSports Online.