ROSELLE, NJ — The Westfield High School boys varsity hockey team surrendered four goals in a span of 3:45 in the second period — two in a remarkable five seconds — falling in the Union County Cup Final to Summit, 6-0 at the Warinanco Skating Center.
The Hilltoppers tacked on a fifth goal in the second period, added a late score in the third and goaltender Wilson Lees turned aside all 22 shots he faced to earn the shutout as The Maroon & White won their sixth Union County Cup in the past eight years.
After a tight checking first period in which Summit killed two penalties with relative ease, the second period saw the Hilltoppers begin to control the territorial advantage and break through on their own power play just past the halfway mark.
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Senior captain Corey McManus' shot from the blueline was tipped high into the net by senior captain Owen McLaughlin, and it was 1-0 Hilltoppers with 9:20 left in the second period.
Less than three minutes later, Summit again had the man advantage and the Hilltoppers' Lees stepped up to make a play that — while it may not have seemed like the game's turning point at the time — proved pivotal.
With Summit on the power play, Westfield stole the puck and headed down the ice on a 2-on-1. Cutting in on goal from the left, Westfield's Brendan Glenn shot, Lees didn't get all of it, but got enough of his arm on the puck to keep it out of the goal.
What seemed like a big save at the time turned into a massive save within 30 seconds of game clock time as Summit picked up the loose puck, entered the Blue Devils' zone, set up their power play and found the back of the net again.
Senior captain Matt Galgano's goal, assisted by Will Vitton and Luc Radice, made it 2-0 Hilltoppers just seconds after it could have been knotted at one and, then, lighting struck again in the blink of an eye.
Immediately off the ensuing face-off, Vitton — who was named the tournament Most Valuable Player — picked up an errant puck in between the Westfield defense and poked the puck past Blue Devils goaltender Ethan Finver.
Two goals in five seconds. Up 3-0, Summit was flying and Westfield was reeling.
Things went from bad to worse for the Blue Devils when Summit scored two goals less than a minute apart three minutes after Vitton's goal.
At the 3:18 mark, freshman Tom Pryymak collected a Radice pass that Vitton was only able to get a piece of, the deflection creating a misdirection that left Pryymak all alone on the doorstep with half the goal to shoot at. The freshman didn't miss, and it was 4-0.
Fifty-eight seconds later it was 5-0 when junior David Sharpe broke in alone on a breakaway and fired low stick-side to beat Finver. There was 2:20 to go in the period and it was essentially “game over.”
All that was left for Summit to do was manage the rest of the game, stay out of the penalty box and get ready to accept the trophy. The adroitly did all three and also managed a Xander Hiltabrand rip from the right point with 2:33 left to complete the scoring.
For the game, Summit outshot Westfield 32-20.