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High School Ice Hockey:
Shawnee Defeats Rancocas Valley, Wins SJHSIHL Tier 2 Title

Friday, February 12, 1999

By Gary Finigan
SJSports Staff Writer

The Shawnee Renegades took on the Rancocas Valley Red Devils in South Jersey High School Ice Hockey action at the Medford Ice Rink. A Renegades victory would give the club the Tier 2 crown, along with a first round playoff bye and an invitation to the Flyers Cup tournament. A Shawnee loss would give all the title reward to the Cinnaminson Pirates.

The game started off with Shawnee playing with caution. Was this due to fatigue from a 4-4 exhibition tie with Washington Township Wednesday night? Neither team was able to control play throughout the first period. The Renegades had a couple of good scoring chances, but the puck would not bounce in their favor. Strong between the pipes, Rancocas Valley's Kurt Braddock stymied the Shawnee offense. With only 29 seconds remaining, the Red Devil's scored on a power play opportunity. Working the puck along the left offensive boards, Christian Headrick beat the Shawnee goaltender with a high shot. Chris Curto picked up an assist on the power play goal. Making an offensive push, Shawnee tied the game with 1 second showing on the clock. Kevin Eppolite, taking a pass at the right point from Keith Williams, fired a low shot the got past Braddock for the 1-1 tie. Credit Derek Megargel with the second assist on the play.

In the second period, with the teams matching up so well, the play moved from end to end. Once again, Rancocas Valley took the lead at 7:58, taking advantage of a two on one. Kyle Tuliano started the play with a pass to Nick Sharp at center ice. Moving into the offensive end, Sharp took a shot from high on the left circle. Renegades' netminder Charles Rodrigo made the save, but did not control the rebound. RV's Scott Hellman picked up the rebound in the right circle and ripped a wrist shot past Rodrigo for the 2-1 lead. Shawnee came back to tie the game with a power play goal. Controlling the puck in the zone on the power play, the Renegades had several chances to score. The strong play of RV's Kurt Braddock in the nets frustrated the Renegade offense. With seconds remaining on the power play, Shawnee cycled the puck out of the left corner. Steve Szabaturo moved the puck to Alan Dennison in the left circle. Dennison passed to Bryce Sunberg at the left point. Sunberg took the slap shot with the puck bouncing off RV goalie Braddock for the score.

A sense of urgency came over the Renegades in the third period. Picking up their offense, along with their physical game, Shawnee wanted this victory. Chris Nase scored unassisted, a goal that would prove to be the game winner. With 8:22 to go, Nase, controlling the puck in the left corner, moved behind the net. Coming out in front of the net, Nase jammed the puck home for a 3-2 lead and final score.

Congratulations go to the entire Shawnee Renegades Ice Hockey Club. With the victory in hand, the Shawnee Renegades reined in the Tier 2 Title for the South Jersey High School Ice Hockey League 1998-99.

Shots On Goal: Rancocas Valley 14 - Shawnee 33

Photos by Gary Finigan

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