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High School Ice Hockey:
Vikings Repeat As Myers Pitches Shutout

Thursday, March 4, 2004

By Mike Costantino
SJSports Staff Writer

The Eastern Vikings won their second consecutive SJHSIHL championship as they defeated Cherokee 4-0 before a standing room only crowd at the Skate Zone in Voorhees. Dan Myers stopped all 25 shots, many from in close as he posted his second consecutive shutout in the playoffs. Once again, it was the line of Sean Sullivan, Anthony Orner and Brandon Tunstall that led the way for this senior-laden team as they accounted for all the goals. Cherokee coach Steve Rumbus in speaking prior to the game said, “One of the keys will be the first five minutes. We expect Eastern to try and jump right on us with their top line and if we can survive with the way we have been playing, it should be a good game”. Well in the games first minute Orner made a good play at the point to keep the puck in the zone and found Tunstall down low. Orner quickly hit Sullivan along the side of the net and he re-directed the pass into the net for a 1-0 lead.

Cherokee’s best opportunity in the period came on the power play, but Myers stoned Sean Stricher to keep Cherokee off the board and the period ended with Eastern up 1-0. Eastern again responded early as right off the face-off Orner scored on a feed from Tunstall and Sullivan and suddenly it was 2-0. Myers continued to frustrate the Cherokee players, as he made great saves on Patrick McMahon from point blank range and slid over to rob Louis Sarcone along the side of the net. Eastern built the lead to 3-0 scoring right after their power play had expired. Orner intercepted a clearing pass and fed Joey Johnston at the point and his blast was stopped by Bobby Casolaro who laid tantalizing in the crease. Tunstall dove towards the loose puck and knocked it into the net. Brandon has been the unsung hero on this team as most of the attention and accolades have been on his two linemates, however his skill to create scoring opportunities is a major factor in the success of the line.

The third period began with Myers stoning Sarcone in the first thirty seconds and then later down low. Sullivan capped off his brilliant season scoring on a breakaway in the closing moments. Coach Pontonio, who earlier in the evening was awarded Coach of the Year, was asked if defending the title was tougher than winning last year. “I think last year with Clearview being the favorite it was harder. But this season as the year progressed, teams were gearing towards giving us our first loss and this group of young men responded”.

Dan Myers interviewed after the game felt the same way. “Last year we were the underdogs, this year we were favored to win, and it’s a great way to end my high school career, now we can focus on the Flyers Cup.” When asked about what’s next Danny replied, “I am keeping all my options open, I have some junior teams looking at me and some colleges. So will see what happens.” Whatever happens and whomever gets Myers will be getting the best high school goalie I’ve seen and will be glad to have him.

Notes: Not to be overlooked is the performance by Bobby Casolaro who was outstanding and kept his team in the game. Eastern loses nine seniors, including Myers and their top line, which will leave the race for the title wide open next season.

Photos by Art Redd

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