UNION, NJ – Sunday night at Union Sports Arena, the Summit Hilltoppers defeated the Gov. Livingston Highlanders, 6-1, in varsity hockey.
Summit defenseman Jimmy Birle was first to score at the 8:43 mark in the first period with an assist by Frank Cupo and Joe Jacobello.
“It’s kind of exciting,” said Birle on scoring the first goal of his high school career. “Nerve-racking not getting a goal before, it was pretty fun.”
Summit’s Chris Zanelli lit the lamp for Summit with an unassisted goal just 34 seconds after Birle’s goal.
The Highlanders were unable to capitalize on a first-period power play advantage when Summit’s Tommy Kane took a 10-minute game misconduct at the 5:24 mark.
Riley Flynn scored his first goal of the game with assists from Zanelli and Birle giving the Hilltoppers a commanding 3-0 lead over the Highlanders going into the 2nd period.
In the second period, Flynn scored his second goal of the game with assists from Whit Cummings and and James Strabley.
At the 11:23 mark of the 3rd period with assists from Liam McLaughlin and Flynn, Zanelli scored his second goal of the game.
To seal the victory and hat trick six seconds after Zanelli’s 2nd goal, Flynn scored the final goal of the game with an assist from McLaughlin.
“It’s always fun to score goals,” said Flynn on scoring a hat trick. “When I had the chance, I put the puck in. It feels pretty good.”
“Overall, it was a tough game to play,” said Summit head coach Keith Nixon. “It’s hard to play in games like tonight.”
Gov. Livingston goalie Matt Altomare recorded 60 saves, with the Hilltoppers outshooting the Highlanders 66-5.
“To be honest, I was very nervous about playing nine players. We had three guys playing their first season and one guy playing in his first ever hockey game. We showed up and got a hell of an experience. They played hard and blocked a lot of shots,” said Gov. Livingston head coach Matt Anderson.
Summit and Gov. Livingston will face off against Westfield this week. Summit will be at Warinanco on Wednesday night at 8:30 p.m., while Gov. Livingston will be at Union Sports Arena on Friday night at 9:10 p.m.