ELIZABETH, NJ – The Summit ice hockey team used two early goals to propel themselves past Westfield, 4-1, on Wednesday at Warinanco Skating Center.
The Hilltoppers scored twice in the opening four minutes to win their third game in four tries.
Following a canceled game and several missed practices, Summit head coach Keith Nixon was a little impressed with how his team came out to play.
“Its been tough just getting on a roll, as far as playing,” Nixon said. “I was surprised how well we came out.”
With the ice still fresh, Hilltopper senior captain Liam McLaughlin ripped a wrist shot off a long rebound past Westfield net-minder Dan DoCampo to swing momentum in Summit’s favor.
Less than 30 seconds later, junior forward Riley Flynn scored the exact same way to put the Hilltoppers on top 2-0.
“That’s exactly what we were looking for, just to get the puck deep right from the start,” McLaughlin said. “We knew they were going to be a tough team because they just tied Chatham. We just wanted to get the puck deep, get on the fore-check and crash the net early.”
Following a Westfield timeout, the Blue Devils settled down after Flynn’s goal. They cut their deficit in half midway through the second period when Andy Eckert put in a loose puck in front of Summit’s goaltender Garrett McGowan.
Down a goal, Westfield had several opportunities to try and tie the game, however McGowan came up with big save, after big save to keep the Hilltoppers on top.
Early in the third period, Summit’s Whit Cummings extended the advantage on a breakaway goal from the blue line.
Flynn added a late open-net goal to seal round one of this Union County rival.
“It was a great game,” McGowan, who recorded his school record 40th victory, said. “Its always fun to get the win against Westfield, big rivals. Its just fantastic, feels unreal.”
Summit returns to the ice on Friday when they host Johnson High School, while Westfield will visit Gov. Livingston.