Blue Devils Beat Cranford, 7-6,
For Fourth Win in
Ice Hockey Season
By Andrew Cambria
Specially Written for
The Westfield Leader and The Times
The Westfield High School ice hockey
team defeated the Cranford Cougars by a score of 7-6 on
February 5. The Devils improved its record to 4-11-4
before a packed house at Warinanco Park.
The two rivals first meeting was
on December 23, where Westfield also was victorious by a
score of 7-4. The first game set the stage for the second
round of the neighborhood rivalry
Westfield came off a difficult loss to
second-ranked St. Joseph's of Montvale two nights before.
Westfield proved that they can compete with the best of
them by losing to St. Joseph's, 6-4.
Cranford came ready to play last
Wednesday night. The Cougars came out flying as they
racked four goals in the first 10 minutes of the period.
Westfield woke up from their first period slumber when
senior Captain Derek Fisher began to rally the troops.
Fisher opened up the scoring for the Devils when he found
the back of the net on a power-play goal late in the
first. Sophomore Ronnie Kashlak made the game 4-2 with 45
seconds remaining in the period. Kashlak was assisted by
sophomore Kevin Anton.
"We came out over confident.
Cranford really took it to us in the first 10 minutes,
but the first two goals helped us rise to the
occasion," said Kashlak.
As the second period was underway,
Westfield had junior Brian Garrison in net. Fisher broke
through first for Westfield when he picked up a
short-handed goal early in the period. Cranford was able
to answer the goal by netting a power-play goal a minute
and a half later. Midway through the third, Kashlak made
it 5-4 when he tallied his second goal of the night.
Assists came from Fisher and sophomore Josh Falcone.
Westfield was on the comeback trail when senior Wayne Pai
tied the game at 5 on an unassisted
goal. Pai had the crowd roaring
after his goal as chants of "we've got Wayne!"
echoed in the rink.
Junior Matt Hanas assisted Dan Marer to
make the score 6-5. Fagin was able to net one goal on the
night, as he gave Westfield their final goal of the
night. Fagin's goal was assisted by Fisher and Kashlak.
Westfield came to life in the second period by
out-shooting Cranford, 21-16. As the two teams headed to
the locker rooms for the final period of play, Westfield
had the edge at 7-5.
Defense was the name of the game for
the Devils in the third period. Westfield gave up only
one goal midway through the period. Solid defensive play
came from the entire team.
Westfield was without junior defensemen Brendan Hickey,
who was out with an injured hand.
Westfield made the game a real thrill
by killing two power plays in the third, while Garrison
had a spectacular third period of play in goal.
"We played real well late in the
game. It was a team effort that gave us the win,"
said Westfield Coach Brian LaFontaine following the game.
LaFontaine went on to say that the team
showed great character on the comeback victory.
The team's next battle is on Monday
against Brick Memorial. Then Westfield will gear up for
the division playoffs.
Photograph Notes: Westfield High School
senior forward Wayne Pai, No. 10, faces off against a
Cranford Cougar on February 5 at the Warinanco Rink in
Roselle. Juniors Eric Kolb, No. 4, and Steve Wlazlo (far
right) are poised to join the fray. The Blue Devils edged
out Cranford High School, 7-6. Pai, Danny Marer and
Christian Fagin tallied one goal apiece, while Derek
Fisher and Ronnie Kashlak each connected for two.