The New Jersey Stars converted their late season momentum into a run to the 14U B championship. Most of the games they played in were hotly contested match ups, but will and determination allowed the Stars to battle through to the final horn.
New Jersey began their round robin slate with a 6-2 decision over rivals North Jersey Aspen Kings Red. The Stars had six different goal scorers, showing their talents as a team with depth early on in the playoffs. Casey Fugure led the team in points by adding two assists to their goal. Colin Marzullo was also stellar in goal, making 22 saves.
To close out their schedule on Saturday, the Stars topped the Haverford Hawks by the score of 4-1. New Jersey got out of the gates in style, scoring three goals in the first period. Aditya Rath had a huge game for New Jersey, netting a hat trick and adding an assist. Fugere also had two more points, being credited with a goal and an assist. Marzullo had another great game in goal, making 27 saves.
The Stars finished a flawless round robin schedule with a comeback victory 4-2 against the Grundy Senators. The Senators were able to get two different one-goal leads in the first two periods of the game. Fugere tied the game with 24 seconds remaining in the second period. The game stayed tied for most of the third period, thanks in part to the efforts of Brody Santora in goal for the Senators, until Jonah Rotman converted on a shorthanded opportunity in the final two minutes of regulation, scoring the game-winning goal to send the Stars to the title game.
In the championship game, the Stars played in an instant classic against Team Philadelphia. The Stars got on the board first in the first period with a goal from Aditya Rath. Scott Scranton responded late in the period for Philadelphia, tying the game after one period. The teams then traded special teams goals in the second period. Rotman gave the Stars the lead on a short handed goal, but it didn’t last long as Ryan Behrle scored on the same power play. Philadelphia’s defense did a good job of keeping the puck out of their zone, holding the Stars to five shots.
Just a few seconds into the third period, Rath gave the Stars a lead they would not relinquish. After a nice set up from James Morino, Rath sniped home their second goal of the game. Despite a late push by Philadelphia, the Stars stood strong and were able to celebrate after the clock hit zero.
A pair of third-period comebacks also caught the attention of many over the course of the weekend. On Saturday, the New Jersey Bandits made a two-goal deficit vanish in a 4-3 win over MYHA Blue. MYHA Blue was able to score three goals in a row, including two by Sawyer Garre to jump out to a 3-1 lead in the third period. The Bandits struck back with three of their own, finished off by Kevin Marques to win the game.
North Jersey Aspen Kings Red were also able to score a come-from-behind victory when they topped the Haverford Hawks, 4-3, on Sunday. A pair of goals by Chase Francis got the Hawks a 3-1 lead in the third period. The Aspen Kings then scored three unanswered goals in the final five and a half minutes of the game. The game-winning tally came with only 42 seconds left on the clock and it came from the stick of Andrew Wilmot.