ROSELLE, N.J. - The Summit boys ice hockey team scored four first period goals in route to an 8-1 win over Arthur Johnson High School on Wednesday at Warinanco Skating Center.
Sophomore forward Chris Zanelli scored three goals and an assist to lead the Hilltoppers to their sixth win of the season.
"We're a young team and theres some growing pains that we're going through but we're starting to take some steps in the right direction," Summit head coach Keith Nixon said. "We're starting to build some depth. We got work for our third line last night and tonight."
The Hilltoppers came out on all cylinders in the first period. Three minutes into the game, Summit scored three goals in less than 45 seconds. Jarrett Ross scored at the 2:08 mark, followed quickly by a tally from Justin Grange. Liam McLaughlin answered 17 seconds later to give Summit a 3-0 lead.
"That was a great way to start the game off," Zanelli said. "The coaches told us in the locker room before the game that we had to come out quick and get on these guys early because they weren't going to roll over and play dead if we let them hang around. We got on them quick and buried them early.
Zanelli scored the first of three goals with 30 seconds to play in the period, giving the Hilltoppers the momentum of a 4-0 lead going into the first intermission.
"We came out with a pretty quick pace," Nixon said. "Sometimes, until you get your legs in the game, that can be tough. When the pace of the game is quick and you don't have a lot of bodies, I think we got them on their heels early and were able to take advantage of it."
Zanelli scored his second goal less than 30 seconds into the second period to give Summit a 5-0 lead.
John Burns found the back of the net later in the period, before Zanelli completed the hat trick with 25 seconds to play in the second period. All three of Zanelli's goals were assisted by Liam McLaughlin.
Nixon said McLaughlin and Zanelli are two of the best team-players on the roster.
"Liam [McLaughlin's] a playmaker. He'll score goals for us. He's a playmaker," Nixon said. "Chris [Zanelli] is going to score some goals for us, he's a goal scorer. He didn't have a preseason because of football…He's starting to find his hands now. We had a long layoff, but he's starting to find his hands and remember what he did last year."
The Hilltoppers were without senior captain Mike Badgley, who is out for a few games due to a hand injury initially sustained during Summit's football season. He is expected to return in the next week.
Summit returns to the ice on Tuesday when they face Brick Memorial. The Hilltoppers will then oppose Westfield on Wednesday in a game that could be the league championship preview.
"[Tuesday night against Cranford] was a big game if we want to stay in the hunt to win the league," Nixon said. "Now we're in a position where if we can beat Westfield next week, we'll be in the drivers seat."