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Frank Hughes scored once and assisted on two others as Washington Township came back from a two goal deficit to tie H/L/V 3-3 in the regular season finale at Hollydell. It was a fitting end to the night as Township honored their 10 graduating seniors and Hughes figured in on all three goals. While the game did not affect Township in the standings, H/L/V, need a win or a tie to clinch first place in Tier II, as Black Horse and won their game earlier and were now tied for first, pending the outcome of this game.

Both net minders, Ryan McCusker, in his final regular season home game and Doug Henkel, who splits time with Tim Hampshire in nets, each goalie was on their game and we were scoreless through two periods. Township finally solved Henkel taking advantage of having two extra skaters on the power play. Hughes on a feed from Austin Haslett ripped home a shot with less than ten minutes left in the game to make it 1-0. On the back end of the advantage, H/L/V would tie the game as Chris Popp broke in on the right side and his cross ice pass was deflected by Matt Cloud into the net and the short-handed goal tied the game at 1-1.

H/L/V seemed to sense the game was now swinging in their favor and 42 seconds later Colin Riera scored from the slot to make it 2-1. When Patrick Rizzo made it 3-1, again 42 seconds later, H/L/V had a 3-1 lead with under seven minutes left. But the senior leaders on Township were determined to not have the game end this way. Hughes made a nice pass to Jason Smith in the slot and his 10th goal of the year gave Township life at 3-2 with just over three minutes left. With the clock reaching one minute left, Hughes went end to end, flying by every defender and hit a wide open Haslett along the side of the net and his 12th goal of the season completed the comeback. Although it was little consolation for H/L/V, the point gave them the title. Had they lost, Black Horse would have won the division based on the tie-breaker.

Notes: Township will meet Cherokee in the first round of the playoffs on Monday at Voorhees; H/L/V will get a week off and open up on Monday February 11th against the Cinnaminson-EEW winner.

Written by Mike Costantino

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