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High School Ice Hockey:
Shawnee has the Power to KO Cherokee

Monday, February 26, 2007

By Mike Costantino
SJSports Staff Writer

Shawnee rallied from a 3-1 deficit scoring four power play goals and defeated Cherokee 5-4 and advanced to the championship round against Washington Township. Cherokee jumped on Shawnee from the opening face-off and controlled play for much of the first period and Brian Taylor put them up 1-0 converting a drop pass from Kyle Kovervas five minutes into the game. About three minutes later Justin Kinniry’s slap shot beat Paul Gray to the short side and Cherokee led 2-0 and was dominating in shots at 14-2. Shawnee finally got some offense on the power play as Connor Dragone deposited a rebound of a point shot by Christian Ayres with just over five minutes left in the period. That goal was huge as despite Cherokee controlling play the lead was just 2-1, thanks in large part to Gray who made some big saves early on.

Cherokee continued the offensive pressure early in the second period; as CJ Lotierzo made a leaping play at the point to keep the puck in the zone, and Tom Paradise banged home a goal from in close to make it 3-1. Shawnee cut the lead to 3-2 as Ryan Welsey scored on the power play as a shot by Chris Kaz ricocheted off a skate to Welsey who had an empty net to deposit the puck. Moments later Gray robbed Kovervas on a breakaway and also stoned Taylor on the rebound to keep it 3-2 at the six minute mark. Matt McDonald then found Joe Pezzato right up the slot and his top shelf goal tied the game at 3-3 heading into the third period.

Kyle Manny put Cherokee ahead with a short-handed goal early in the third period as Matt Maugieri stole the puck and found Manny in the slot. Shawnee came right back on the power play as McDonald found the net with his blast from the right circle and once again we were tied at 4-4. Then with less than four minutes left Cherokee was called for holding, giving Shawnee a chance on the power play, once again. Welsey wasted little time as he flew down the left side and his quick shot found the net for a 5-4 lead. Cherokee pulled the goalie in the final seconds but was called for an obvious penalty and Shawnee escaped with the win.

Notes: Despite the protests from the Cherokee bench on the penalty call that led to the game winning goal, it was definitely a hold and the right call. Both officials had their arms up, and it happened right in front of the scorers’ bench.

Photos by Art Redd

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