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Washington Township Ice Hockey Club:
December 12th Rematch With Eastern Turns Out to be a Wild One!

By Gregg Williams
SJSports Staff Writer

December began with a sound 8-3 victory over Lenape. Gray Shaneberger led the way with a Hat Trick and 1 assist. Goalies Mark Zlatkin and Brian Migliorisi combined to make 20 saves as the Varsity kept Lenape pinned in their own zone most of the evening. Other offensive starts for Township were Nick Gariffo (2 goals, 1 assist), and James Christian and Jeff Slotnick with a goal each.

In the much anticipated rematch with Eastern, it was Township who desperately needed a win to stay in the hunt for the South Jersey Crown. Eastern handed Varsity its only loss in South Jersey this year.

Senior Mark Zlatkin started in goal and the Migali's (Bruno from Ernie) gave Township an early first period goal. But Eastern scored twice to take a 2-1 lead. Early in the second, with a delayed penalty on, Jeff Slotnick jumped off the bench to pop one in and tie it. Sophomore blue-liner Chris Harrington scored a power play goal to five Township the lead only to see Eastern tie it with a power play goal of their own. Freshman Steve Brown closed out the second period scoring shorthanded to give Township a 4-3 lead heading into the third period.

Defenseman Derek Poletis gave Township a two goal lead with just under 4 minutes gone in the third, but Eastern scored two quick ones with under 5 minutes left to knot it up at 5 apiece. With a little over three minutes left, the Migali's (Ernie from Bruno this time) scored a clutch goal to give Township the lead which they managed to hold on to. Mark Zlatkin made 3 huge saves in the closing minutes with the Eastern Goalie pulled to shut the door and seal the win.

The win draws Township into a virtual tie with Eastern for first place. It also sets up a showdown rubber match at Hollydell on January 30th with the winner most likely gaining the South Jersey title.

Varsity met Shawnee for the third time on December 19th and won for the third time in a rout. The line of Gray Shaneberger, Nick Gariffo, and Steve Brown exploded for 7 goals and 18 points to lead Township to a 10-0 win. Brown had 6 assists, Gariffo had 2 goals and 4 assists, and Shaneberger had 5 goals and 1 assist. Other scorers were defensemen Derek Poletis, Paul Pronio, and Buddy Anderson. Shawnee managed only 1 shot over the first 22 minutes and a total of 10 for the game.

Varsity closed out their 1997 portion of the South Jersey League schedule on December 22nd at the Coliseum against Cherokee. The Chiefs scored on their first shot to take a 1-0 lead and Township peppered the Cherokee net with 15 shots, but couldn't score. Captain Gray Shaneberger finally found a hole and tied the score just before the end of the first period. That goal opened the door for 10 more unanswered goals as Township coasted to an 11-1 win. The line of Shaneberger, Brian Davis, and Steve Brown combined for 6 goals and 8 assists. Other scorers included Casey Johnson with a goal and an assist, and Buddy Anderson with two goals and an assist.

Washington Township JV A News:

On goals by MS and ED, the JVA team beat Lenape on December 5th at TROP Ice Rink by a score of 2 to 1. Assisting on the goals were Adam Zaccaria and Kenny Condit. In goal for Township was Andrew McGinn, who stopped 19 of the 20 shots he faced.

In a return match from opening night, the Township's skaters tied the Archbishop Ryan skaters by a score of 3 to 3 in a Friday night contest at TROP Ice Rink. Kevin Ciccone was in goal for the Township team and kept the game close with his many saves. Scoring the goals for the Township team were Adam Zaccaria, Manny Suriel, and Nick Carnavale. Mike Fabrizio assisted on two goals with John Comstock and Tom Davies each contributing one assist.

Trying to avenge the only blemish on their League record, the Township's skaters beat Clearview by a score of 9-2. Scoring the goals for Township were John Comstock, Matt Naegle, Billy Verdecchio, Tommy Nicoletti (2), Al Anderson, and Nick Carnovale (2). Assisting on the goals were Tommy Davies (3), Adam Zaccaria (2), Al Anderson, John Comstock, Mike Fabrizio, Dave Andrews, Matt Naegle, Ken Condit and Billy Verdecchio. Kevin Ciccone was in goal and stopped 19 of 21 shots he faced.

On December 19th, Township's skaters came from behind to score five unanswered 2nd period goals to defeat Kingsway 7-3. Kingsway took the lead in the 1st period by scoring 2 even strength goals and led after the first period by a score of 2-0. But in the 2nd period, goals by Nick Carnovale (Billy Verdecchio, Adam Zaccaria), Adam Zaccaria (2 players down and unassisted), Al Anderson (Eric DeFiore, Ken Condit), Eric DeFiore (Al Anderson), and Adam Zaccaria (Billy Verdecchio) regained and maintained the lead for the rest of the game. Al Anderson (unassisted) and Mike Fabrizio (Billy Verdecchio and Adam Zaccaria) completed the scoring tin the 3rd period. Kevin Ciccone was in goal and stopped 21 of the 24 shots he faced.

The Shawnee Renegades defeated the JVA skaters by a score of 5-1 on December 21st at the Coliseum. Scoring the only goal in the 3rd period for the Township team was Tommy Nicoletti with Matt Naegle getting the only assist. Andrew McGinn was in goal and stopped 23 of the 28 goals in the 1st period and 3 goals in the 3rd period.

Washington Township JV B News:

Township's JVB Squad notched a victory at the Coliseum on December 12th against a tenacious Triton squad. Goaltending, defense, and a determined offensive push by Township made for a great game. During a Township line change, Mike Mazzuca (1 goal) was left on his own in Triton's offensive zone. Mike worked to keep the puck from 2 Triton defensemen and managed to power his way in front of the net to snap a shot past the goalie at 3:14 of the first period. The assist came from Josh Ogin on a dump in so Township could get fresh legs on to the ice. Township's JVB standouts Nick Brown, Chris Andrews, and Joe Pelle continued their fine offensive play and pressured Triton's defense all evening. The next goal came at 14:24 of the period when Mike Murro (1 goal, 1 assist) scored on a great feed from Joe Gabrielli (1 goal, 1 assist). JVB's outstanding defensive corps cam up huge again shutting down every Triton Threat. Joe Gabrielli scored the game's final goal at 1:56 in the second period on a pretty 2 on 1 with Mike Murro. This was the second meeting of the year for those two teams, with Township winning both contests. Shots for the games were Township 27, Triton 11. Mark Buckalew posted the victory in net.

In what had all the makings of another great confrontation, JVB and Holy Cross did not disappoint. The last meeting between these two teams wound up in a tie. Township was determined not to have that happen again. Every player on the JVB squad was primed and ready for the game on December 7th at TROP. Township came out flying, led by standouts Jim Procopio (1 goal, 1 assist) and Nick Brown (1 goal, 2 assists). Holy Cross came from behind to know the game at 2-2 until JVB went back into the lead with a beautiful tip in by Joe Gabrielli on a Dan Fratantoro slap shot from the point. Dan Hill scored his first goal on the season on an ice level slapper from the left circle to put Township ahead by 2 goals. A determined Holy Cross team fought back in what was one of this season's best games. The 3rd period was filled with relentless up and down action with Derek Lucas making some spectacular saves through screens and deflections. Holy Cross tied the game with 4:24 left in the 3rd period, then Township's Nick Brown answered the bell with an outstanding breakaway goal just 13 seconds later. Holy Cross pulled their goaltender for a sixth attacker, but a strong defense and smart play by Township JVB shut down all of Cross's offensive threats. Township went on to win a marvelous contest. Final score: Township 5, Holy Cross 4.

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