by Jared Geoghan
The varsity ice hockey team dominated puck possession and capitalized on several power play opportunities on their way to a 6–1 thrashing of Dayton on Monday at Warinanco Park.
The team got off to a slow start, with much of the action occurring in the neutral zone for the first three minutes, with senior goaltender Dan DoCampo handling Dayton's early pressure.
WHS finally broke through for a goal six minutes into the first period, with freshman Matt Rittendale rifling a shot past the Dayton goaltender off a beautiful wraparound feed from junior Dante Anastario.
Anastario, a defenseman, displayed strong puck protection and fluid two-way hockey throughout the first period to help apply pressure on the Dayton defense.
Senior Matt Friedman grew the Blue Devils’ lead to two with a shot from the slot that found its way to the back of the net.
Said Friedman: "The game plan going in was to play our systems well and out-work [Dayton]. We came out slow but we ended up outworking them as the game progressed and that helped put us on top."
Junior Luke Hiltwein added a goal late in the second period to give the Blue Devils a 3–0 advantage. With Dayton playing two men down, Hiltwein ripped a wrist shot from the slot over the goalie's shoulder.
Westfield erupted for a flurry of goals in the third period, paced by Anastario’s two goals. His first came off an early snapshot from a cross-ice feed. Rittendale also scored his second of the game to open up a 5–0 lead.
Immediately after a Dayton goal, Anastario’s power play slapshot late in the period extended the lead to 6–1.
Said Senior Co-Captain Andrew Marino, who recorded three assists on the night: “I felt we all played together as a team. Each player played their specific role on the team.”
The team was also in action against Cranford on Wednesday night, prevailing 3–2 in a shootout to reach the UCIAC Finals. They will face Summit on Saturday at 6 p.m. at Warinanco Park.