High School Ice Hockey:
By Rick Murro
For the second time in two years the Washington Township Ice Hockey Club entered teams in the highly competitive Iceline Holiday Tournament.
The JVB team posted a win against Conestoga and a loss to West Chester East and Great Valley, finishing just short of a quarter final slot. Not bad considering it was a JVA tournament. Over the course of the 3 games, forward Scott Singer led the way with a goal and two assists . JVB's other goal scorers were Mike Murro, Joe Gabrielli and Jim Procopio. Defensemen Dan Fratantoro and Eric Marano each had a goal and an assist over the length of the tournament.
For some of the JVB members, it was their first experience in a road tournament playing against consistent quality competition. They made the club proud.
JVA entered the 16 team field missing a significant number of skaters due to other commitments, but that didn't stop them from making early noise and winning their first game against Unionville. The game featured Kevin Ciccone, normally a goalie, playing a regular shift at forward and scoring the eventual game winner early in the third period. After dropping their second game against Henderson JVA desperately needed a win against Malvern to get to the quarter finals. Malvern took the early lead but JVA knotted things up at 2 going into the third period. Freshman Manny Suriel netted 2 goals and added an assist in the third period to seal the win and a spot in the quarter finals against Great Valley.
Coach Will Brown, with his short staffed team about to play it's 4th game in 48 hours, sought some relief from the JVB team and brought up 5 players to deepen his bench. The strategy worked as Mike Murro scored a hat trick and JVA cruised to a 6-2 win and a spot in the semi-finals against Council Rock. The team hit a wall in the semi-finals managing only one goal on 13 shots and bowed out knowing there were 12 teams already on their way home. This turned out to be a great showing by the JVA club considering all of the obstacles they faced. Leading the way offensively over the 5 game period were Dave Andrews with 4 assists, Captain Nick Carnovale with 4 goals and 2 assists, Al Anderson with 3 goals and an assist, Ken Condit with 1 goal and 3 assists, Tom Nicoletti with 2 goals and 2 assists and Manny Suriel with 2 goals and 3 assists.
Washington Township Varsity entered at the AAA Division would see some of the strongest teams in Eastern Pennsylvania. Opening up against Conestoga, Steve Brown and Gray Shaneberger would score the only Township goals as Varsity came from behind to gain a 2-2 tie.
It wouldn't get any easier as the game 2 opponent would be Malvern Prep, last year's Flyers Cup Champions. Buddy Anderson and Gray Shaneberger scored the only two goals for Township as the Varsity team played well but dropped a close 3-2 decision. The loss set up a showdown against Downingtown, with the winner moving on to semi-final play. Against Downingtown, freshman defensemen Buddy Anderson had a goal and 2 assists to pace Township in a back and forth battle that saw leads evaporate for both teams. Freshman Brian Davis scored a goal to tie the contest at 3 late in the second period. Senior Goaltender Mark Zlatkin was perfect in the third period, stopping eight shots as freshman Casey Johnson scored the only third period goal to give Township the win and a spot in the semi-finals.
The semi-final opponent was Henderson a team that skates out of Iceline, and they brought a lot of fans out to this game. It was obvious that Township was in unfriendly territory. Henderson is a team that has a decent offense but is known for strong defense and solid goaltending. The game started with both teams playing cautiously and not giving up any odd man rushes but at the end of regulation nothing was settled as the score stood at 0-0 heading into overtime.
Goaltender Mark Zlatkin, playing perhaps his best game of the season, would be tested often during the overtime sessions and he came up BIG. Through 3 overtime periods (5 on 5, 4 on 4, then 3 on 3) the score remained deadlocked at 0-0. Then with just under two minutes left in the 3rd overtime, Buddy Anderson took a big shot from the top of the left circle and it hit the Henderson goaltender square in the chest. The rebound came out to Gray Shaneberger who took a quick wrist shot that seemed to handcuff the startled goalie. The puck dropped down and rolled into the net with Bruno Migali parked on the doorstep. The final score Township 1, Henderson 0, in one of the most exciting games anyone can remember.
The Varsity team was a little worn out from the semi final battle but faced off against Malvern on New Years Eve morning for the championship. Malvern, looking much like Flyers Cup contenders cruised to a 3-2 win. Washington Township made great strides here however and many people took notice. While Gray Shaneberger remains the marquee player, the contributions of Steve Brown, Brian Davis, Casey Johnson and Buddy Anderson(all freshman) cannot go unrecognized. Sophomore defensemen Derek Poletis and Chris Harrington were solid. Seniors Nick Gariffo(injured in the Downingtown game) along with Ernie Migali, Jeff Slotnick, James Christian and Paul Pronio all skated with pride and determination. Mark Zlatkin found his game, giving up just 8 goals over five games. Heading into the second half of the season, it looks like the team is firing on all cylinders.
©1998 South Jersey Sports Online