UNION, NJ — In a game that saw the Summit High School ice hockey team dominating puck possession, shots on goal and scoring chances, the Hilltoppers ground out a victory over a gritty Livingston team, 3-0, at the Union Sports Arena on Friday for their seventh-consecutive win.
Summit senior captain Will Vitton's second-period deflection of a shot from the point proved to be the game-winner, and freshman Greg Spitznagel and junior Luc Radice notched third-period goals—the latter into an empty net—to seal the Summit victory. Senior goalkeeper Wilson Lees turned away 13 shots to earn the shutout.
The Hilltoppers spent nearly 80 percent of the first period in the Lancers' zone, generating 12 shots on goal to Livingston's two, but came away with nothing to show for it. Collapsing in the slot, the Lancers defense did a good job of keeping shots from the perimeter and making sure even more rubber didn't find its way on their net.
The second period was a different story. A couple of Summit penalties made the Hilltoppers downshift, and Livingston generated a significantly more-offensive push—enough to edge the period's shots on goal, 7-5.
The breakthrough for the Summit boys eventually came with just 51.4 seconds left in the period when the puck found its way out to Summit's freshman defenseman Matt Vigliotta, who was stationed between the circles about five feet inside the blue line. Vigliotta wristed the puck through a tangle of legs where Vitton—stationed in the slot—got his stick on it, deflecting the puck over the shoulder of Livingston goalie Matthew Delseni off the crossbar and in.
The pressure valve released a bit and the Hilltoppers depth-advantage evident, the third period was again controlled by Summit. Outshooting their opponent 11-4, the Hilltoppers got a breakaway goal from Spitznagel less than two minutes into the period, the freshman sent in alone on Delseni, courtesy of a nice pass from senior captain Johnny Puskar.
There were other chances in the frame, but it wasn't until the 2:26 mark when Radice broke past two defenders on his off-wing to slot home in an empty net that Summit was able to find a third.
Summit outshot Livingston, 28-13. Delseni was solid in goal for the Lancers, making 25 saves.
"We are not a secret anymore, we aren't going to sneak up on anyone," said Summit head coach Keith Nixon. "Every team is going to give us their best game. We were flying in the first period, the penalties in the second took us out of our game a little bit, but we limited them to 13 shots on goal and virtually no scoring chances. It was a 'blue-collar' game and I thought we did a great job with our forecheck, especially on the backside, which really disrupted what they were trying to do."
The Lancers will be back on the ice on Thursday at 6:15 p.m., taking on Monsignor Farrell in the first of three Holiday Tournament games at the Ice Vault Arena in Wayne.