Bishop Eustace doubles up Saint Augustine
VINELAND - The Bishop Eustace ice hockey team made it two straight over St. Augustine, breaking a 2-2 deadlock in the third period en route to a 4-2 victory Friday at the Vineland Ice Arena.
Tyler Hancock's goal with 1:46 to play broke the tie and lifted the Crusaders to their 10th win in 13 contests. The win gives Eustace a firm grasp on the top playoff spot in the Southern Conference Red Division.
"We just had a lot (in the third period)," said Hancock, who added an empty-net goal with 43 seconds to play for the final margin. "It was a team effort; we showed a lot of heart."
Tim Purwin set up the game-winner, stealing the puck just inside the Prep's blue line. Purwin fired a hard, low shot that was headed just wide of the net.
Hancock was able to get a stick on the puck and redirected it over the shoulder of St. Augustine goalie Kevin Healey.
The Crusaders were the early aggressors, jumping out to one-goal leads in each of the first two periods. Kevin Grunther tallied the game's first goal, finishing a 2-on-1 rush off of a pass from Hancock.
Grunther put the Crusaders up 2-1 with 12:41 remaining in the second, beating Healey through the five-hole on another rush. The line of Grunther, Hancock and Purwin accounted for all of Eustace's scoring.
"When you play St. Augustine you need a good speed line," Eustace coach Mike Green said. "They are the fastest of our lines."
In the first two periods, the Prep was able to counter each Crusaders goal. In the first period, Brain Berklebach stuffed home Rob Baskow's rebound to knot the score at 1-1. And with 7:39 left in the second, Bill Choy found Mike Innarato in the slot.
Yet, the Hermits were unable to solve Colin Saltiel in the latter stages. The sophomore came up with countless huge saves to keep the game tied 2-2. With three minutes to play, Chris Ferry fired a high shot after Saltiel had dropped, but the goalie reached over his shoulder and robbed a sure goal with a glove save.
"(Saltiel) comes to play when he plays us," St. Augustine center Dominic Morrone said. "He plays his angles well."