Westfield celebrates winning the 2013 Union County Tournament, ending Summit's three-year run as county champions. Credits: Tim LeCras
Credits: Tim LeCras
Credits: Tim LeCras
Westfield celebrates after winning the 2013 Union County Tournament. Credits: Tim LeCras
New Providence athletic director and ice hockey tournament director Robert Harmer congratulates Summit for placing second in the Union County Tournament. Credits: Tim LeCras
Westfield captains Liam Devin and Dane Huber accept the Union County Tournament cup from Tournament Director Robert Harmer. Credits: Tim LeCras
Summit's Liam McLaughlin accepts the Union County Tournament MVP award from tournament director Robert Harmer. McLaughlin had a tournament-high 11 points in three county games. Credits: Tim LeCras
Westfield Hockey Steals Union County Title Away from Summit
Saturday, February 23, 2013 • 11:31pm
ELIZABETH, N.J. - The Westfield Blue Devils are the new champions of the Union County Ice Hockey League, beating Summit 3-1 on Saturday at Warinanco Skating Center.
Led by senior Sam Meyer, who had a goal and an assist, the Blue Devils ended Summit's three-year stint as county champions.
"Its a great feeling," Meyer said. "We've been wanting it for years. I'm speechless. I know they say that after every victory when you win a game like this. Its a great feeling. We have the group of kids this year. We all came together."
Having split the season series, the previous game was on the minds of both sides, but especially Westfield.
In their last game, Summit scored three goals in the final minute of regulation to be the Blue Devils. On Saturday, Westfield used that as a driving force.
"We came in pissed off," Westfield goaltender Dan DoCampo said. "We just did what we needed to do. At the end, we collapsed the second game, but this game we stuck it out."
The Blue Devils took the lead in the first period when Jermie Dedea scored on a third offensive rebound with Meyer and Anderson Eckert given assists on the play.
They held the lead into the final minute of the second period before Summit's Liam McLaughlin, who was named tournament MVP with 11 points in three county games, scored unassisted on a shot from the left corner.
40 seconds later, Westfield was whistled for a penalty, giving Summit a power play to begin the third period.
However, after the intermission, Westfield fought off the penalty then proceeded to take control of the game. Less than four minutes into the final period, Meyer lit the goal lamp on a wrist shot from the right side, to give Westfield the 2-1 lead.
The Blue Devils added a third goal with six minutes left when Dane Huber put a shot over Summit goalie Garrett McGowan's shoulder, giving Westfield a two-goal lead.
However, the Hilltoppers still had a chance to come within one. Following Huber's goal, he was called for an unsportsmanlike penalty for celebrating in front of Summit's bench.
On the ensuing power play, the Hilltoppers failed to get any scoring chance, tallying only four shots in the entire third period.
"I expected us to come out and play with more composure," Summit head coach Keith Nixon said. "We've been a third period team all year long. To come out and get four shots. We had the power play for 1:38 to start the period, to get four shots the whole period, is just not acceptable."
Despite the win. Westfield has a quick turnaround, as they will host a first round state playoff game on Tuesday.
Blue Devil head coach Sean Cromarty is not concerned with his team losing focus on the game because they enjoy playing with each other and don't want the season to end.
"I think that they're learning to win and they like that," Cromarty said. "They don't want to break this team up. The next loss we have is the end of the season with this group. They don't want to stop playing."
As for Summit, they will also host a first round game at Warinanco, however they don't play until Monday. Nixon said his team will need to play
"If this is the best we got to offer, we aren't going to be long for the state tournament," Nixon said. "This team has played a lot better than this, they know how to play a lot better than this. On a big stage, you have to show up and do it and we just didn't do it."