ROSELLE, NJ - O Captain, My Captain!
Jake Puskar wears number eight on the back -- and the front, as well, actually -- of his Summit High School Boys Hockey Team sweater, so it seems like kismet that the Hilltopper senior captain had a major hand in the Maroon and White winning the 2020 Union County Tournament Title -- their eighth such triumph in the past 11 years.
The latest crown came courtesy of a 3-1 victory over Westfield at the Warinanco Skating Center, with Puskar scoring once in each period, the three-goal Hat Trick supplying all the offense while Summit's senior goaltender Nikita Pryymak held the fort with 20 saves.
Puskar's third goal was right out of the 'NHL Skills Competition', with the lefty breaking in from the right side, dragging the puck behind his back before flipping the disc between his legs into the top left-hand corner of the net.
Junior Greg Spitznagel and freshman Jake Lowry each had two assists as the Hilltoppers won their fourth straight game and improved to 11-3-2 on the season. Senior captain Spencer Myers and junior Gavin Ruschmeier also had helpers on the night,
Dan McDonald scored in the second-period for Westfield and Jack Ruckman stopped 25 shots. Summit outshot the Blue Devils 28-21.
It was the second year-in-a-row that Puskar scored the game-winning goal in the UCT Final, with the then-junior getting the decisive tally in a 3-0 Hilltopper win last year.
Summit will next face Glen Rock January 28 at Warinanco. The puck drops at 6:30 p.m.