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High School Ice Hockey:
Cherokee and Township Will Face Off in Finals

Friday, March 1, 2002

By Mike Costantino
SJSports Staff Writer

Washington Township will meet Cherokee in the SJHSIHL championship series beginning on Monday at Hollydell. This will be Townships' third consecutive trip to the finals, Cherokees' first. Both teams finished tied for first place this season, with Township staking claim to first by virtue of having beaten Cherokee twice during the regular season. Lets take a look at the match-up:

  • Team Speed- Townships' Capone and Verdecchio are two of the quickest skaters in the league; Cherokees' Henderson and Zahacewski can also fly. Advantage Township
  • Goaltending- Township might go with Straga, who played great in the third period of game 1 against Cinnaminson and was good enough in his start in game 2. Cherokee has the best goalie in the league in Sabol. Advantage Cherokee
  • Defense- Cherokee is led by Yeager and Diorio who think defense first, for Township Verdecchio and Martorano are gamblers and use their speed to cover up aggression. Slight Edge to Township
  • Coaching- Coach Schauffele in his first year led Township to a first place finish while coaching the tier 2 team as well, that's a lot of teenagers to deal with. Coach Ketchell has Cherokee in unchartered waters as no Cherokee team has advanced this far at the varsity level. Call it even
  • Intangibles- the Cherokee faithful over the years have felt they don't get enough respect and after sweeping Clearview this could be their year. Township has been here 3 years in a row and played a tougher series against a resilient Cinnaminson team. Edge to Cherokee
  • Prediction- Cherokee needs contributions from its second and third lines, in the semi-finals Zahacewski was huge, coupled with a great series from Sabol, they should win. They can't rely on just Henderson to score. Township while Starga was key in the semi-finals for them, does Coach Schauffele go back to Seczech if Straga struggles? Discipline and staying away from the retaliatory penalty will be a key area for both teams. Cherokee in three

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