WOODBRIDGE — Drew Galea scored two power-play goals before completing the hat trick with an empty-net goal with 50 seconds remaining as second-seeded Colonia-JFK-Woodbridge defeated third-seeded South Brunswick, 5-2, in the semifinals of the Greater Middlesex Conference Cup at the Woodbridge Community Center.
T.J. Evan opened the scoring 6:12 into the game before setting up two of Galea’s goals while Adam Godfrey turned aside 32 of the 34 shots he faced as Colonia advances to the GMC Cup final where it will take on the winner of St. Joseph/Monroe on Friday at 6:45 p.m. in Woodbridge.
“It was a great win for us. Our guys played hard against a tough opponent,” Colonia coach Chris Monticollo said. “Adam Godfrey did an outstanding job in net.”
Evan followed up his initial shot and was rewarded with a rebound and the senior buried it to put Colonia on the board, 1-0.
Blessed with a 5-on-3 man-advantage, Galea snapped a wrist shot past South Brunswick goalie Clayton Romanak just 3:30 later as Colonia carried a 2-0 lead into the first intermission.
South Brunswick cut the deficit in half in the second period when it won a face-off in its own zone and Harin Ponna executed a fine breakout pass to Justin Guelph who made no mistake putting it home 9:09 in. Ronit Thummaluru also drew an assist on the play that made it 2-1.
The Vikings never stopped battling and tied the score at two when Guelph gained control at the right circle before dishing it to the front of the net where Michael Castiello knocked it in on the power play 3:44 into the third period.
Colonia (18-3-1) responded with back-to-back goals just over a minute later when Travis Beni provided the go-ahead goal at 5:33, assisted by Evan and Galea, before Galea came right back 1:06 later on the power play to put the tri-op up by a 4-2 score.
Beni’s goal came off a broken play when a pass caromed off a South Brunswick player right to him in the slot for the game-winner. Galea beat Romanak (24 saves) high, stick-side just over a minute later.
Colonia has won 10 of its last 11 and is now setting its sights on its first-ever GMC Cup.
“Our goal from the beginning was to reach the finals and try to capture our first GMC Championship,” Monticollo said. “Our kids are looking forward to Friday.”
South Brunswick (10-9) was awarded the 13th seed in the NJSIAA Public A tournament where it will take on Freehold Township in the Sweet-16.
Ninth-seeded Colonia will face eighth-seeded Clifton in the second round of the Public A tournament but has some unfinished business to attend to first on Friday.
Photos by Tom Smith / @TSPImages
Special to HockeyClan
Main Image: Colonia’s Justin DiNatale delivers a hard hit to Thomas VanPelt (22) after he makes a pass to the front of the net in the semifinals of the GMC Cup at Woodbridge Community Center on Feb. 14. 2018. (Photo courtesy of Tom Smith/TSPImages)
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