February 20, 2014 at 12:40 AM
UNION, N.J. – The Summit varsity ice hockey team is on its way to the Union County championship game. Again.
Following a 5-1 victory over Arthur L. Johnson High School of Clark on Tuesday at Warinanco Skating Center, the Hilltoppers earned a spot in their fifth consecutive county final.
Summit has played in five of the first six county final games since the league was formed seven years ago.
“We have to get back what was rightfully ours,” Summit head coach Keith Nixon said. “Second place didn’t sit too well with us last year. We want our name on their all the time.”
Summit started off on their heels, courtesy of Johnson’s up-tempo style of play that they brought to the first period. However, once Summit got settled, they took over the game.
Sophomore forward Reilly Flynn opened the floodgates when he lit the lamp with 3:19 to play in the first period. The Hilltoppers went on to score the first four goals over the game.
“Johnson came out flying against us and I think we were caught a little off guard by that,” Summit goalie Garrett McGowan said. “I think after seven minutes in, we settled down, got the first goal and carried that throughout the rest of the game.”
John Burns added a tally in the opening minutes of the second period on a deflection in front of Johnson net-minder N DEMERZO. Following a 7-minute scoring drought, Flynn and Brady Nelson found the net twice in a span of three minutes to put Summit on top 4-0.
Nelson contributed a point in each of the first four scores by the Hilltoppers, including his own goal. Nixon has been impressed with Nelson’s play, specifically against Union County opponents.
“He’s really been producing for us lately,” Nixon said. “He’s really torn up Union County. I think was his 11th game in the county and he has 31 points. That’s pretty impressive. He and Reilly have looked great together.”
Summit, the county’s top seed, will faceoff against Westfield in the 7th Annual Union County Tournament final. The puck drops at 6 p.m.