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Three periods, two overtimes and 9 shoot-out chances could not yield a winner in the Washington Township-Moorestown game, until Frank Hughes ripped a shot into the net to give Township a thrilling 4-3 win over Moorestown and the right to meet Cherokee in the finals on Monday night. Before we get to how we finished let’s talk about how we started. Moorestown forward Mike Katz had all three Moorestown goals, scoring two in the first three minutes of the game. Down 2-0 Township got one back as they broke in 3-on-2 at the eight minute mark and Doug Sanders made a nice pass to Tyler Benton and his goal cut the lead to 2-1.

Ryan McCusker made a big save on Will Sulpizio down low to keep the deficit at one, then late in the period Hughes made a nice pass to Eric Dale and he ripped home the tying goal and Township was back in the game. After a scoreless second period, the third period was a defensive struggle as neither team would take many chances. Katz gave Moorestown the lead at 3-2 scoring with just over four minutes left in regulation. Township would pull McCusker in the last minute and once again Hughes made the play to keep the puck in the zone and Austin Haslett scored from in close to tie the game with twenty seven seconds left.

The first overtime, both teams had chances, but McCusker and Vada Mangum stood tall. Second overtime there was not many great chances, so it came down to a shootout. Moorestown led off with Sulpizio, but he lost the puck on his stick and never got the shot off. Sanders followed for Township and shot wide. McCusker would then stop Katz, Jeff Briggs, John McCollough and John Yedman. Mangum would stop, Haslett, Dale and Jason Smith to set the stage for Hughes.

With his dad seemingly more nervous, I said you can’t write a better ending to this than him scoring the winning goal, elimination game, possible last game in a Township uniform, seems like a little pressure, but you had a feeling Hughes would deliver, and he did.

Notes: Township must defeat Cherokee twice, since the Chiefs have not lost a game in the tournament, no small feat, but if they get the play out of everyone, that they got tonight, should be interesting.

Written by Mike Costantino

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