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High School Ice Hockey:
Ruiz and Osterdahl Lead Braves over Clearview

Friday, January 28, 2005

By Mike Costantino
SJSports Staff Writer

Tom Ruiz had a hat trick and Justin Osterdahl added two goals and two assists to lead the Williamstown Braves to a 7-3 victory over Clearview in high school ice hockey action at Hollydell. Since losing to Moorestown back in November 5-2, the Braves are now unbeaten in their last six games going 4-0-2 and with this surge have solidified there hold on the last playoff spot. After a scoreless first period Williamstown took a 1-0 lead as Ruiz scored a power play goal by putting home a rebound of a point shot by Eric Finn. Just twenty five seconds later, Osterdahl made a great pass from behind the net hitting Andrew Lima on the short side and a wide open net to put the Braves up 2-0.

Shaun Stamm cut the lead to 2-1 on a breakaway with an awesome move to fool goalie Joshua Haines and put Clearview back in the game. Haines however was solid throughout the night and was also a key in the win. Later in the period Clearview got the equalizer as Chris Riggs scored short-handed to tie the game at 2-2. With the period winding down Ruiz put Williamstown back in control scoring twice in the final minute. First, camped in front again, he put home a rebound of a shot by Dennis Cunnard. Then on the power play, Osterdahl found Ruiz at his favorite spot, in front, to complete his hat trick and Williamstown led 4-2 heading into the third period. Early in the third period with Clearview on the power play, Osterdahl stole the puck at center ice and scored on a breakaway to put Williamstown comfortably ahead at 5-2. Mike Wolk deflected a shot by Mike Sullivan to bring Clearview to within 5-3, but goals by Osterdahl on the power play and Vinney Needham, his first of the season, secured the game for the Braves.

Notes: Clearview will need better production on the power play in order to advance in the playoffs, going only 1-11 against Williamstown could be an omen. Looks like the top four teams will get a bye and the teams finishing 5thru 12 will begin the playoffs, tentatively scheduled for February 14th. Happy Valentines Day!!!

Photos by Art Redd

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