February 19, 2013 at 12:24 AM
ELIZABETH, NJ - With their 9-0 win over Jonathan Dayton on Monday, the Summit Hilltoppers advanced to the Union County Ice Hockey League's semi-finals.
Sophomore forward Reilly Flynn, who was named to the All-County First Team before the game, scored three goals and three assists to lead the Hilltoppers closer to their fourth consecutive county title.
"Its a good feeling to be recognized as one of the top players," Flynn said. "It feels good."
Summit took the lead early in the first period when Flynn scored on a pass in front from John Burns less than five minutes into the first period. Junior Liam McLaughlin was credited with the second help on the play, breaking the school's all-time assist record.
McLaughlin had a point in the first four goals of the game, including back-to-back goals late in the first period and early in the second.
After Zanelli extended the Hilltopper lead with under nine minutes to play in the first, McLaughlin scored from the right circle to give Summit the 3-0 advantage going into the first intermission.
Then with 9:56 to play in the second, McLaughlin found the back of the next again, this time from the left side on a pass from Whit Cummings, putting Summit ahead 4-0.
"I have to give a lot of credit to Reilly [Flynn] and Chris [Zanelli] because they've been on my line this year and last year," McLaughlin said of his offensive success. "I have to give a lot of credit to them."
Flynn scored unassisted for the second time 25 seconds later. Two minutes after Flynn lit the lamp, senior captain Mike Badgley put a backhand shot over the Dayton goalie to put the Hilltippers up 6-0.
In the final 10 seconds of the middle period, Flynn recorded his hat-trick goal to send Summit to the dressing room with a 7-0 lead.
Badgley and Tommy Kane both added third period goals, while goalie Garrett McGowan solidified the shutout on the defensive end.
"Our goal was to get 10 after two, but that didn't happen," McLaughlin said. "We didn't want to get into any bad habits because we have some important games coming up."
The No. 2 seeded Hilltoppers will face No. 3 Cranford in the county semi-finals on Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. from Warinanco Skating Center, with the winner facing either Westfield or Scotch Plains in Saturday's final.
"I'm definitely looking forward to having a good game against them; physical, probably low scoring," Flynn said. "[We will] just look to get shots on net."