|High School Ice Hockey:
It's a Shoot-out as Township Edges Cinnaminson
Monday, February 25, 2002
By Mike Costantino
SJSports Staff Writer
In arguably the most exciting play in hockey, last night's semi-final game came down to a shoot-out. Washington Township converted on two of its five chances while Cinnaminson connected on only one as Township advanced to the finals for the third year in a row with a 6-5 victory. In a game that started out as a defensive struggle, not many people would have guessed the finish to this one. After a scoreless first period, Township scored when Mark Capone hustled to keep the puck in the zone and hit Eric Marano in front. Marano then slid the puck to Nick Martorano along the side of the net and his shot found the net and a 1-0 lead. Later in the second period, Bill Verdecchios' slap shot from the point found its' way through a maze of players and into the net. After two periods Township led 2-0.
Cinnaminson's best chance to score came with just under eight minutes left with Township down two defenders. Despite good pressure, Dan Straga, who earned the start with his third period performance in game 1, made several tough saves in net. But right at the end of the power play, Steve Parent picked off a clearing pass, spun around and blasted a shot that surprised Starga and found the back of the net and Cinnaminson was only down 2-1. Then with just over five minutes left in the game, Anthony Mottola scored his first of four goals on a breakaway and we were tied 2-2. Now it was Townships' turn to respond. At the four-minute mark, Martorano banked a shot off a defenseman and into the net and a 3-2 lead. That lead lasted all of fourteen seconds as Mottola wristed a shot just inside the blue line that seem to handcuff Straga and once again we were tied at 3-3.
It looked as if Cinnaminson was going to force a third and deciding game when Mottola once again scored from the slot with fifty-five seconds left in regulation. Township would take a time out to set up one last chance. Martorano dumped the puck in and Capone used his speed to retrieve the puck. He found Marano and his quick wrist shot found the top corner and we ended regulation at 4-4.
When playing an overtime period in the playoffs, the rules state that each team skates 5-on-5 period for five minutes with the first team to score, wins. If still tied, you play another five-minute period, this time 4-on-4 again first team to score wins. Still scoreless after the overtimes, the referees then asks both coaches to select five players from their squad to skate in from center ice and try to score.
This game would end up being decided in a shootout. Township connected twice as Verdecchio and Joe Pelle tallied. Mottola was the only successful shooter for Cinnaminson. Cinnaminson had a chance to tie the game but Parent hit the post on the final attempt. Despite the loss, Cinnaminson has a lot to look forward to with fifteen returning varsity players and a solid system coached by Bill DeVece and Tony Mottola.
Photos by Art Redd