January 19, 2003
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Ramapo wins a wild one over Fair Lawn

Sunday, January 19, 2003

By Jim McConville
NJS.com Staff Writer

MONSEY, NY -- For both Jonathan Phelps of Ramapo and Mike Kaplan of Fair Lawn, Saturday night's Northern Conference White Division game had to seem more like the NHL All-Star Game - back-and-forth play, little or no defense, and shot after shot blasting away at the two goaltenders.

Both coaches had thoughts of pulling their netminders at points in the game, but both ultimately stuck with them, and it was Phelps who actually made some key third period saves to help Ramapo to a wild 8-7 win at Sport-O-Rama in Monsey, New York.

The win moved the Raiders to 12-1-3 overall and 6-1-3 in the division, good for first place and a five-point lead over Ridgewood. The Cutters fell to 4-5-1 overall (1-5-1 in their last seven games) and 3-3 in the division with a game against Old Tappan on Sunday night at 9:15 at the Ice House in Hackensack looming large.

The game had a very frenetic pace right from the get-go, as both sides were sloppy and undisciplined for the most part. Fair Lawn head coach Cory Robinson said that, "my style of coaching is a 3-2 game. Even a 4-3 game disturbs me. To play this way....."

His comments tailed off, but his message was clear, and it was much the same message that Ramapo head coach Don Quarles had, as he added that, "you take the result, but it was a sloppy game and you can't be happy with that."

The lead changed hands four times and Fair Lawn came back to tie the score with 58 seconds left when Joe Bonafede took a pass from Dan Woodall at the left corner of the goal and went over Phelps for his ninth of the season. Ryan Van Grouw also was credited with an assist.

"We had talked between (the second and third) periods about not giving up last minute goals," Quarles said, "and what do we do, we give one up."

Ramapo, whose only loss came to Ridgewood on a goal with 1.6 seconds left, exploited the Fair Lawn defense one more time, though, as Shawn Lugo burst through center ice and took a pass from Kaream Eraiba, sending him in on a breakaway. He scored top shelf with 24.4 seconds to go, his 22nd of the season, for the game-winner.

"One of the defensemen who would have been on ice was in the penalty box," Robinson noted, "so I had a forward back there, but it was the other defenseman who was slow to the play."

Lugo, who had been denied on four chances earlier in the game, "was a bit frustrated," Quarles commented, "but he stayed with it and cashed in the chance that meant the most."

Fair Lawn actually had a pair of chances in the final ticks, one being saved by Phelps and the other missing the net. The Cutters peppered 41 shots on goal and countless others just off the mark, but Phelps was able to make the save on a pair of third period breakaways by Van Grouw and Woodall to actually "preserve" the win.

"It sounds funny in an 8-7 game, but it was the goaltending that made the difference in the third period," Quarles said.

It didn't seem as though Ramapo would need late heroics between the pipes, at least not in the early stages of the second period. The Raiders scored four goals over a 2:44 stretch spanning the first and second periods to turn a 2-1 deficit into a 5-2 lead.

Dan Oniszczuk (his fifth from Skyler Insler) and Woodall (from Bonafede) had scored first period goals for Fair Lawn after John Sedlack (unassisted) had gotten Ramapo on the board first. Sedlack then began the four-goal barrage at 13:58 of the first after Eraiba and Rob Rosenhaus had shots saved by Kaplan.

Eraiba then scored his third of the year just 15 seconds into the middle period. Sedlack won a faceoff at the right circle, pushing the puck in front, and Eraiba tapped in it past a surprised Kaplan.

Just 1:03 later, Sedlack scored his third of the game, beating Kaplan upstairs off assists from Sean Bandazian and Matt Corbin. Rosenhaus got his 18th of the year 24 seconds later, picking the puck out of a scramble in front. Lugo and Matti Makela got the assists.

Undaunted, Fair Lawn began a four-goal string of its own, getting the first just 45 seconds after Rosenhaus' goal. Woodall found Mike Teytelbaum to the left of Phelps and he drilled his fifth of the season at 2:27.

Insler made it a one-goal game 40 ticks later, as Oniszczuk made a pass from right to left that Insler one-timed for his fifth of the season. Woodall then got the equalizer at 6:20, with assists going to Van Grouw and Bonafede. Fair Lawn grabbed the lead at the 2:31 mark of the third period, as Woodall completed his hat trick with an unassisted tally, as he raced down the left side and cut in on Phelps, wristing home his 14th goal of the year.

The two teams continued to trade shots, and Ramapo knotted the game at 6 with 7:07 left. Corbin took a shot from the right point at the blue line, and he beat a screened Kaplan to the left goalpost for his fourth goal this season. Eraiba received the assist on the play.

Sedlack then put Ramapo up 7-6 with exactly five minutes to go, scoring his fourth of the game and 18th of the year. Corbin sent him in on a breakaway, and he beat Kaplan high to the glove side.

Kaplan finished with 23 saves, as the Cutters outshot Ramapo by a 41-30 margin, and Quarles said that, "I felt they outplayed us for the most part. We capitalized on more of our chances, that's all."


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