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High School Ice Hockey:
SJHSIHL Is Down To Its Final Four

Saturday, February 27, 1999

By Mike Costantino
SJSports Staff Writer

To have been able to predict that the four teams left in the battle for ice hockey supremacy in South Jersey would also be the top four teams from the regular season in Tier 1 wouldn't qualify you as an expert. The tough part is predicting who will advance to the finals and ultimately capture the crown. Will Eastern repeat or will Lenape finally capture the gold? Here is a breakdown of each series, remember that the semi's and finals are best of three:

Eastern vs. Washington Township:

Defense - both have huge kids, Poletis on Township and Schellenhammer on Eastern. Slight edge to Eastern.

Team Speed - Gori and Suriel are quick, but Cianfrani and Becker along with Purwin are faster. Edge to Eastern.

Goaltending - both are solid, call it even.

Coaching - Mike Pontonio uses the more vocal approach while his counterpart Coach Harrington remains calm. Vikings seem to respond to volume. Ever so slight edge to Eastern.

Intangibles - Eastern is the defending champ, and Township needs to take advantage of Becker and Cianfrani suspended for first game. Edge to Township.

Keys for Township - steal first game with Eastern missing top two players and keep Poletis out of penalty box.

Keys for Eastern - winning without best players and capitalizing on power play chances.

Prediction - Eastern in 3

Clearview vs Lenape:

Defense - both play solid defense. But with heavy hitters Meenan and Fletcher, the slight edge goes to Clearview.

Team Speed - Bagnoli brothers give edge to Lenape.

Goaltending - both have solid kids. Call it a draw.

Coaching - both have quiet leaders behind the bench. Even again.

Intangibles - growing sentiment favors Lenape. Edge to Lenape.

Keys for Clearview - maintaining the lead and keeping Meenan and Fletcher on the ice.

Keys for Lenape - capitalize on scoring opportunities and contributions from McClure and Schneck.

Prediction - tough one to call. This should be the better of the two series and will probably go three games with Lenape squeaking by in a thriller.

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