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YMSSA Hockey White Division Championship Game

(JEC Sports) On Sunday February 26, the YMSSA middle school hockey championships took place at The Frisch School in Paramus. In the White Division championship, the undefeated number one seeded JEC Thunder were matched against the third seeded Hillel Heat in a game that would give one of the two schools their first hockey-related championship.

Riding the solid play of a deep JEC offense captained by Aaron Erez, JEC was able to start the game strongly, peppering goalie Eddie Dweck from Hillel with numerous quality scoring chances. Yet, despite JEC carrying much of the play in the first period and Hillel sprinkling in a few quality scoring chances themselves, the first period ended in a 0-0 tie.

With the start of period number two, the momentum and quality chances began to swing in favor of the JEC Thunder as they began to apply steady pressure on the Hillel Heat. Despite some early chances by Hillel’s leading scorer Eli Gindi, and some mid-period pressure from Jake Braverman, JEC managed to snuff out any real offensive chances, anchored by the solid play of the “Two Tzvi D,” Tzvi Cohen and Tzvi Balken. Then with roughly four minutes to go in the second and the puck deep in the Hillel zone, Zev Rosen sent a beautiful pass to Erez at the point, who had just subbed in on defense. Erez managed to get off a shot from the right point that eluded Hillel’s goalie high to the short side to give JEC a 1-0 lead, which remained the score at the conclusion of the second period.

As the third period started, Hillel managed to garner a flurry of chances in the opening minute of the third period, resulting in a tense loose puck scramble in front of the JEC net. Yet, once again, the JEC defensemen managed to clear the puck deep and settle the game back down, allowing JEC to regroup.

With Hillel’s chance snuffed out by a stubborn JEC defense, it didn’t take long for JEC to regain their offensive momentum as Balken had a good keep and immediately centered a pass to Erez who faked a forehand shot before roofing a perfectly placed backhand over the Hillel goalie’s shoulder, to give JEC a commanding 2-0 lead. Less than two minutes later, Erez found himself open in the slot and scored again to complete the natural hat trick to give JEC a 3-0 lead.

With the goaltending of Moshe Kaminer in net, and with the stellar fore-check of the JEC offensemen, the Hillel Heat were not able to generate any serious offensive momentum for the remainder of the game. JEC managed to close out their undefeated season with a solid shutout effort to secure the school their first Middle School Hockey Championship! Congratulations to Coach Jonathan Silverstein, Assistant Coach Meir Wadler and the entire JEC hockey team on an amazing all-around season!

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