WAYNE, NJ - Playing their third game in five days against tough competition at the 'Ice Vault Holiday Tournament' -- and after losing two-in-a-row to start that stretch -- the Summit High School Boys Varsity Ice Hockey Team found itself in a 2-0 hole and staring up at Bergen Catholic just a shade over three minutes into the contest.
The Hilltoppers maintained their composure and showed their pedigree, scoring the first-period's next three goals -- and eight of the game's next nine scores overall -- and went on to defeat the Crusaders, 8-5.
Senior Davis Strabley, junior Tom Pryymak and freshman Chris Magovern each had two goals as Summit bounced-back from consecutive defeats to Indian Hills and Seton Hall Prep and improved its season record to 8-3. Freshman goaltender Grant McCormack stopped 25 of 30 shots between the pipes for the Hilltoppers to get the 'W'.
Trailing 2-0 at the 11:56 mark of the first period, Summit got on the board when senior Luc Radice scored, assisted by Strabley at 10:15, then tied the game 34 seconds later when junior Jake Puskar and Pryymak fed Magovern. Less than three minutes later, junior Spencer Myers beat Bergen Catholic goalie Brendan McCaskey and The 'Top were on top for good.
Summit took firm control of the game in the second period by scoring two goals 62 seconds apart early. First Magovern -- from senior Greg Moller and Puskar -- fired home on the power play, and then Pryymak, assisted by Magovern and Puskar, made it 5-2.
Strabley's first of the night, set-up by Myers at 5:38, made it six straight Hilltopper tallies before the Crusaders broke the string by scoring a power play goal at 3:22. Pryymak got a big goal for Summit with 35-seconds left in the middle stanza, one of those last-minute-of-the-period jobbers that seem to simultaneously lift the team that scored the goal and metaphorically sock the team right in the solar plexus that allowed it.
The Crusaders scored early in the third to narrow the gap to 7-4, but Strabley's second goal of the game, unassisted at 8:44, restored the four-goal lead. Bergen Catholic would answer right back 32 seconds later, but Summit managed the final half of the final period to earn the victory.
The Hilltoppers outshot the Crusaders 36-30. Puskar had three assists in the game, and Pryymak and Magovern both had four-point (2G, 2A) nights.
Next up for Summit is a January 4 meeting with Scotch Plains-Fanwood at the Union Sports Arena. The puck drops at 4:10 p.m.