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High School Ice Hockey:
Gray's Anatomy hands Township First Loss

Monday, December 11, 2006

By Mike Costantino
SJSports Staff Writer

Shawnee goalie Paul Gray used every part of his body, including three great glove saves as Shawnee handed Washington Township their first loss of the season 2-1 in a playoff-like game played at the Skate Zone in Voorhees. Township's lone goal came early in the game on the power play as Christian Fleagle converted a pass from TJ DiSpaldo. Despite scoring just one goal, Township launched 40 shots after the early goal but could not solve Gray. It wasn't for lack of trying. Meantime Shawnee was not generating much offense as the only had 5 shots in the opening period and just four in the second period. Township has five of the top eight scoring leaders in the league and they each had at least two good opportunities each to score but Gray stoned them each time.

Shawnee had a golden opportunity to tie the game at the ten-minute mark of the second period as Township had two men in the penalty box. Shawnee had ninety seconds with an extra two attackers, but could only manage one shot on goal. Gray, in goal for Township, was doing his part robbing Colin Davis with a glove save and stoning Jared Emmet on a breakaway. Late in the period, Gray stoned DiSpaldo and Marc Remini with quick glove saves.

As the third period began you had that feeling that despite Gray’s heroics he might come out on the short end of the game. Shawnee would respond. Given another opportunity on a two-man advantage, Ryan Welsey was left alone on the side of the net and Ian Watson and Joe Pezzato got him the puck and suddenly the game was tied at 1-1. Township continued creating scoring opportunities, Davis and Emmet, both had great chances but Gray continued to come up with the big saves. And with under five minutes left Brian Ruskowski scored with Ian Smith and Conner Dragone getting the assists and Shawnee had a 2-1 lead. Despite pulling the goalie, Township could not get the equalizer. Hopefully Gray’s teammates took him out for a nice steak dinner.

Notes: With the win Shawnee pulled to within one point of first place and the two teams meet again on Friday January 19th at Voorhees.

Photos by Art Redd

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