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High School Ice Hockey:
Four Goal Spurt Key as Township Forces Game 3

Wednesday, March 6, 2002

By Mike Costantino
SJSports Staff Writer

Washington Township scored four goals in the last four minutes of the first period and skated to a 7-2 win over Cherokee. With the win, Township has forced a third and deciding game in the SJHSIHL varsity championship last night at Voorhees in front of a standing room only partisan crowd. Eric Marano led Township with three goals and Pat Henderson scored both Cherokee goals. But the key contributors were Coach Schauffele's Tier 2 line of Jason Pelle, Mike Duczkowski and Chris Keyser as all three contributed goals, with Pelle adding two assists. The game was scoreless until the four-minute mark, with neither team coming close to scoring until Nick Martorano was all alone in front but Chris Sabol stoned him. After Pelle won the face-off, Duczkowski put the puck on net and Keyser banged home the rebound to put Township up 1-0.

After Marano scored from a tough angle on the power play to put Township up 2-0, Cherokee had a chance to cut the lead in half as they went on the power play in the final minute of the period. But instead Township doubled their lead, setting a team playoff record scoring two short-handed goals in nineteen seconds. First Peterson picked off an errant pass and broke in and his quick wrist shot beat Sabol on the glove side to make it 3-0. Then the back breaker came with five seconds left in the period, as Pelle jumped on a loose puck and his slap shot surprised Sabol and Township ended a dominant period out-shooting Cherokee 16-6 and more importantly up 4-0.

Henderson got one back on the power play in the first five minutes of the second period to cut the lead to 4-1, but less than two minutes later Township had a 3-on-1 break. After Martorano's shot went wide, the puck came off the boards to Marano who was positioned in front to jam it home and Township led 5-1. Henderson scored his second goal just at the end of a power play as he busted down the right side and his blast beat Dan Straga along the ice to give Cherokee some hope at 5-2. But Township dashed any hopes as Duczkowski scored in the last eighteen seconds of the period as he was alone at the side of the net and beat Sabol on the short side to make it 6-2. Marano completed his hat trick midway through the third period and Straga played solid in nets as Township forces a game 3 with the 7-2 win.

Notes: Look for Straga to be in nets as he performed solidly in last nights win. Henderson has scored 6 of Cherokees' 9 goals in the series; if Cherokee is to win their first championship they need other players to step up and a better performance in nets. Finally, this will be the third year in a row the champion will be crowned at Hollydell and the puck drops on Friday night at 9:00.

Photos by Art Redd

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