RED BANK, NJ - The Summit High School Girls Ice Hockey Team is headed to the inaugural NJSIAA Tournament Finals, after the sixth-seeded Hilltoppers won an exhilarating 7-6 victory over second-seeded Trinity Hall at the Red Bank Armory. Freshman Elizabeth Puskar scored with 16 seconds left in regulation -- with Summit goaltender Lily Spinner on the bench for an extra skater -- to tie the game, and then got the clinching goal in a shootout giving the Maroon and White the victory.
In the Final, Summit will face number-one seed Morristown-Beard on March 5 at The Prudential Center. Face-off time is 7:30 p.m..
Puskar converted the two climactic offensive plays of the day and another freshman, netminder Spinner, was heroic at the opposite end of the ice, stopping 39 of 45 Trinity Hall shots and then blunting three more in the shootout. Sophomore Leah Rubinshteyn, junior Caroline Sharpe preceded Puskar in finding the back of the net for Summit in the shootout.
Rubinshteyn had two goals and one assist, Caroline Sharpe notched a goal and three assists, Puskar tallied a goal and an assist, while junior Maisie Hiltabrand and sophomore Taylor Cornell also both scored for The 'Top, now 15-6-2 on the season.
Molly Riggi had three goals and an assist to lead the Monarchs.
The back-and-forth affair saw Summit lead 3-2 after the opening period, with Hiltabrand's opener and two goals from Rubinshteyn giving Hilltoppers the advantage.
Trinity Hall scored twice to take a 4-3 lead with 3:52 left in the second period and then -- in a game filled with big moments -- Puskar found Sharpe with just eight ticks left on the clock to knot things up at 4-4.
The third period was a near-mirror image of the second stanza, as two goals from the Trinity Hall putting the Monarchs up 6-4 with 7:32 left, but Summit stormed back. First Puskar set-up Caroline Sharpe on the power play to narrow the deficit to one at the 4:43 mark and then, with Puskar on the ice as the sixth attacker and the Hilltopper cage empty, Rubinshteyn found the freshman and the teams were headed to overtime.
Neither team could break the deadlock in the extra period, setting up the penalty-shot shootout. Summit potted three pucka and Spinner made three big saves -- once again proving that three is, indeed, a magic number.