Glen Rock hockey wins in overtime; advances to league title game

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The Glen Rock hockey team celebrates Peter Cassidy’s overtime goal that beat River Dell/Westwood in the semifinal of the Big North Tournament Wednesday at the Ice Vault in Wayne. Photo by Simon Toffell.

Peter Cassidy’s slapshot at 10:21 of overtime allowed the Glen Rock ice hockey team to overcome a stubborn River Dell/Westwood team and pull out a 3-2 victory Wednesday night at the Ice Vault in Wayne and propel the Panthers into the finals of the Big North hockey tournament.

“Johnny LaMacchia put a good touch on it and left it for me and I just let it go and it went into the top corner,’’ said Cassidy, a senior right wing.

The victory lifted Glen Rock, the No. 1 seed in the tournament, into a finals matchup with No. 6 Northern Highlands on Friday, at the Ice Vault at 7:45 p.m. Northern Highlands (15-5-1) advanced to the championship game with a 6-2 semifinal win over No. 7 seed Mahwah.

Glen Rock (17-3-4), the No. 1 public school in New Jersey according to nj.com’s rankings, dominated in the faceoff circle and dominated possession against River Dell/Westwood (16-5-1) the Big North – Patriot Division champion. The Panthers outshot River Dell/Westwood 64-12 in the game, but River Dell/Westwood goalie Matt Ajello kept Glen Rock at bay.

Goals 58 seconds apart in the second period by Eddie Corvelli and Cassidy staked the Panthers to an early 2-0 lead, but River Dell scored late in the second period to pull within 2-1, and despite the fact that the game was played mostly in the River Dell end, Glen Rock never could feel comfortable the rest of the way.

Ultimately, River Dell tied the game on a scramble in front with 2:08 left in regulation. It was their 10th shot of the game, compared to Glen Rock’s 50 at that point.

But Glen Rock coach Anthony Yelovich said his locker room message to the team before the overtime was calm.

“I said, ‘We’re battle-tested. We’ve been in this situation before,’’’ Yelovich said. “There was absolutely no panic.’’

Cassidy, who has 18 goals on the season, agreed.

“We weren’t panicking,’’ Cassidy said. “We knew one was coming.’’

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