The finals of the Hockey SCT are tonight and we have two games to declare the winners of two cups, the Dowd and the Handchen. The two games are perfect examples of match ups including teams who are supposed to be there teams and who should be there. Middletown North and Rumson-Fair Haven are the teams that are supposed to be there with both having top notch offenses all year long. The two teams that should be there are Middletown South and Southern, both of which withstood some hiccups this season but were able to beat Shore Conference power houses in#2 Red Bank Catholic and #3 Howell respectfully.
Handchen Cup: RFH vs. Middletown North
Middletown North has been #1 in Public B most of the year and was seeded #1 in the SCT. The offense is spaced over two lines with four players with over 30 points this season. Kristian Acosta leads the team in goals (35), assist (27) and points (62) and he has had some help throughout the season keeping the Lions scoring rolling. Kevin Felice (22-20-42), Vincent Tomasetti (18-24-42) and Bobby Hampton (10-25-35) have all contributed when needed to keep this team’s offense on track. Evan Hall, (2-11-13), leads a Lion blue line that has controlled most offenses this year and Anthony Manfredi,(0.893 sv pct) has stopped pucks whenever the opposing team got through.
Rumson-Fair Haven is no slouch when it comes to offense this year, having the state’s leading assist leader in Brendan Ban, (20-53-73). They are ranked #8 in the Public B rankings and although being second to RBC in their division they have ranked high all season. The supporting cast for the Dawgs has Conor Deverin,(35-21-56), Rob Garavente, (17-11-28), Will Catalano, (13-7-20), with a lot of blue line help from John Monteferrente (11-14-25). Richard Maser, (0.846) is the pillar behind the defense in goal.
This game is going to have a lot of offense in it. Not to take anything away from the blue line corp or net minder of either team, but these teams are going to be skating up and down the rink until the buzzer that ends the game. Whoever has the majority of the goals at the end may come down to the difference at the blue line. There are going to be a lot of scoring chances and whichever defensive squad and goalie can cool down the opposing offense late in the game will carry the Handchen Cup away.
Dowd Cup: Middletown South vs. Southern
The second game of the night has Middletown South against Southern for the Dowd Cup championship. The Eagles offense has been led all season by Gavin Gulash (22-15-37), Ryan Lambert (11-20-31) and Deven Ralph (12-19-31) and can put the puck in the net whenever they rush up the ice. They are led on the blue line by Mike Racioppi (3-12-15) with net minder Clay Simonsen (0.856) and have been capable at handling offenses all season long as shown with their two close games against North this season.
Southern has scorers of its own in Matt Scalvino (25-17-41), Jack Conrad (14-17-31), Nick Godfrey (13-15-28) and TJ Hawkins (17-11-28) and are more than capable of keeping opposing goalies busy for 45 minutes. The defense is led by Tyler Golomb (5-10-15) and goalie Cameron Conrad (0.906) and, as shown by keeping the Howell offense in check in the semi final on Tuesday night, can be a challenge for the Eagles offense.
This game looks to me to be a more tightly fought, between the blue lines type of game. There will be spurts of offense by both teams and the defense that handles the flurry of shots through these spurts may have a hand up in the end. Both these teams are deep on the bench and the possibility of anyone taking charge on the scoreboard makes this game one that will have people sitting on the edge of their seat all game long.
The winner of the Dowd Cup may come down to the stronger goalie and deeper scoring from the bench, as both teams offenses are statistically even.
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