UNION, NJ - While the Summit football team was getting ready for the state title down the road, the Hilltoppers ice hockey team was showing that they are ready to go on a long run of their own this season.
The team scored early and often and was able to move by Johnson, 12-2, at Union Sports Arena for the season opener for the Hilltoppers who are looking for another Union County Cup and also winning the Union County Ice Hockey League.
The 2011-12 version of Summit is looking to top the record of the 2010-11 team that finished with a 19-3-3 record and made it to the second round of the state tournament before falling to Verona.
"Offensively we did a lot of good things," said Summit head coach Keith Nixon. "We do need some more work on the defensive end.”
Nixon said the team had a couple of players who were playing for the Summit football team, but that allowed some of the younger players to get ice time. "We were able to get some freshmen ice time," said Nixon.
Summit has Johnson's number. Last season the Hilltoppers defeated the Crusaders 9-3 and 7-1.
And the game was pretty much in hand with about six minutes remaining in the second period when Mike Nyitray smacked a slap shot past the Johnson goalie for an 8-2 Hilltoppers lead.
Summit won big over Johnson twice last season and the Hilltoppers made sure they duplicated that again on Friday as they took a 5-1 lead after the first period.
Summit was led by both Frank Lawrence and Nyitray who registered hat tricks on the night while two Hilltoppers added a pair of goals in Eric Stabler and Hunter Wycoff added a pair of goals in the opener for the season and the Union County Ice Hockey League. Summit's Liam McLaughlin and Riley Flynn added a goal each to finish off the Hilltoppers’ deluge. Also, Summit goalie Garrett McGowan made 21 saves to register the victory.
The Hilltoppers skate in the George T. Cron High School Hockey Tournament starting on Monday against Scotch Plains at 6 p.m. at the Warinanco Arena.
When asked if the team can keep the scoring going the rest of the season, Nyitray laughed. "Hope so," said the Summit senior who added that the team becomes aggressive when it comes to offense. "We work on that in practice in crashing the nets."
But Nyitray knows that the team has worked to do even before the cup and state tournament season in 2012 with very good teams like Randolph, Montgomery and Chatham.
The Summit senior had scored twice in the first three minutes. The first goal came from Nyitray while he assisted on a Lawrence goal just inside three minutes of the game for a 2-0 lead.
After Johnson sliced the Hilltoppers lead to 2-1, Summit would scored the next four goals as Stabler scored on a power play four minutes into the second period for a 6-1 lead.