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South Jersey High School Ice Hockey League Final Four Preview

Wednesday, February 20, 2002

By Mike Costantino
SJSports Staff Writer

For the first time in at least three years there is no clear cut favorite as the semi-finals are set in the SJHSIHL and the four teams left all have a legitimate shot at winning the championship. Defending league champion Washington Township will meet Cinnaminson and Clearview will meet Cherokee. Both series are the best of three with game one for Clearview and Cherokee on Friday night at the Skate Zone in Voorhees, and Hollydell will host game one in the Township versus Cinnaminson series on Sunday night. Lets breakdown each series:

Township vs. Cinnaminson

  • Goaltending- Both teams have used a two- goalie system, with Townships' Sezcech having the best record of the four at 6-1-2 and the best goals against average of 3.49. Slight edge to Township.
  • Defense- Cinnaminson thinks defense first and are led by seniors Steve Parent and Zach Penska. Edge to Cinnaminson.
  • Team Speed- Townships' Capone is arguably the fastest skater in the league, and along with Drew Peterson and Billy Verdecchio will give Cinnaminson fits. Edge to Township.
  • Intangibles- Township is defending champ and expects to win, Cinnaminson plays the style of game that tends to frustrate Township. Slight edge to Cinnaminson.
  • Prediction- Cinnaminson while playing solid defense, lacks the offense to stay with Township, but will make it difficult. Township in three.

Clearview vs. Cherokee

  • Goaltending- Clearview surrendered the least amount of goals, 37 and has gotten solid if not spectacular play from Kurt Rager and Jason Brown. Cherokees' Chris Sabol has been great all season. Edge to Cherokee.
  • Defense- Both teams help out well, but Clearviews' Gooch has the ability to create opportunities. Slight edge to Clearview.
  • Team Speed- Pat Henderson and Sean Zahacewski can put pressure on a defense, but Clearview can come at you in waves. Edge to Clearview.
  • Intangibles- Cherokee is coming off its best season ever and has the best goalie in the league, but needs production from its second and third lines. Clearviews' balanced attack and the desire to return to the championship series will fuel their fire. Slight edge to Clearview.
  • Prediction- While Cherokee finished tied for first and split the season series with Clearview; in a tough and gritty series I like Clearview in three.

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