By Peter McCarthy and Chris LaMonica
Wizards 8 Jaguars 3
The Rookie Division championship game started out as a nail-biter, as the red-hot Jaguars stood toe to toe with the first-place, undefeated Wizards. The Jaguars wasted no time in scoring, as Antonio Gentile landed a perfect pass on the foot of Joe Rowdis, who blew it past the goaltender for a 1-0 lead.
The Wizards countered with a goal of their own when Chris Hutra received a pass from Tyler O’Leary and scored to tie the game at 1-1. The Jaguars scored next on another blast from Rowdis that was set up by Anthony D’Urso. The Wizards responded when Hutra scored with six minutes left in the period to tie the game at 2-2.
The Jaguars played superb defense with Gabriela Peralta and Sal Sorrentino continuing to shine. The Wizards received equally superb defense from Daniel Amato, Isabella Guariniello and Chad Bouseed.
At the start of the second half, the Jaguars scored when a pass from Joseph Fanelli reached Rowdis, who knocked the ball into the net once again. That was all the scoring until 15 minutes were left in the game. Chris Carbone was sensational in goal for the Jaguars, coming up with some big stops during that 12-minute span. Antonio Silva was superb in goal for the Wizards, making a tremendous number of saves as well.
At 15 minutes, the Wizards took control of the game. Hutra scored three unanswered goals for the Wizards in less than two minutes to make the score 5-3, which took some wind out of the Jaguars’ sails. They tried to pump up their offense by putting power shooters Sorrentino, Rowdis and Carbone up front, but the Wizards’ defense of Guariniello, Amato and Rosario Bentivedo was too strong.
Sal Lagana scored the next two goals for the Wizards in less than four minutes to put the game away. Hutra scored the final goal for the Wizards, giving them the 8-3 victory and the championship.