LITTLE FALLS, NJ - Sophomore Sam Giuffrida had his first career hat trick and led the No. 15 Passaic Valley/Cedar Grove Hornets ice hockey team to a 5-1 victory over No. 18 Park Regional in the first round of the NJSIAA Public B State Tournament at Floyd Hall on Monday.

The Hornets struck first when Giuffrida scored a short-handed goal with help from Jack Prospero with 7:59 left in the first period.  Park Regional answered back just 25 seconds later with a goal from Tim Dalgauer.  With under a minute left in the period, Dan Lapinski found the back of the net on an assist from Nick LoPresti to give the Hornets a 2-1 lead.  

After scoreless second period, freshman Matt O'Donnell capitalized on a power play early in the third period to increase PV/CG's lead to 3-1.  Another power play with 4:32 left in regulation play, gave Giuffrida his second goal of the night with help from Kyle McCarthy and Joe Kubu.  Giuffrida completed his hat trick with 2:12 left in the game, assisted by McCarthy and Matt Nelson.

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Noah Vazquez had 20 saves for the Hornets, while Chris Schneider had 31 saves for Park Regional.

This victory is the first state tourney win for the Hornets since 2010.  They will take on No. 2 Northern Highlands on Friday.  

TAPinto Verona/Cedar Grove  is an online newspaper serving the Townships of Verona and Cedar Grove. TAPinto Verona/Cedar Grove is accredited by the New Jersey Press Association, and is a locally owned news organization serving the community.

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