The Westfield and Cranford High School hockey teams renewed their rivalry on Feb. 6 at Warinanco Skating Center in Roselle with the Blue Devils winning the spirited contest by a 4-0 score.
The game was attended by over 600 fans there in support of 3-year-old Will DeGregorio, a courageous little boy fighting adrenal gland cancer. Both the Cranford and Westfield choirs were present and delivered a stirring rendition of the national anthem, followed by a ceremonial puck drop with Will's mother Kara Shields, also a teacher at WHS, and his cousin, Cranford High School player Dan Fay.
Cranford carried territorial play for most of the first period, thanks to three Westfield minor penalties in the first 10 minutes of the contest. However, the Cougars weren’t able to get many shots through the Blue Devil penalty kill and when they did, Westfield sophomore goalie Dan DoCampo (10 saves) was up to the task.
The Blue Devils got on the board with less than 30 seconds remaining in the stanza. A slap shot from Westfield senior defenseman Liam Devin was turned aside by Cranford freshman goalie Thomas Harris (36 saves) but junior forward Dane Huber deftly banged home the rebound to give Westfield a 1-0 lead.
Westfield threatened for most of the second period but was thwarted by Harris and the solid work of Cranford senior defenseman Dan Murphy and freshman blueliner Marc Colucci. A five-minute major penalty gave Westfield even more momentum and they made the Cougars pay again in the last minute of the period.
Devin banged home a 35-foot wrist shot off assists from Huber and senior forward Sam Meyer to put Westfield up 2-0.
The third period was more of the same as Westfield's relentless forecheck kept the puck in the Cranford zone for large periods of time. With eight minutes remaining, junior defenseman Andrew Stern snuck in from the point and made it 3-0 Westfield off an assist from senior forward Nick Grawehr. Less than 30 seconds later, strong pressure by senior forward Jon Macik led to a goal by Grawehr, accounting for the final score.
Westfield is now 13-4-3 on the season with upcoming games against Hillsborough on Feb. 12 at 4 p.m. at the Woodbridge Community Center, and Scotch Plains on Feb. 13 at 8:30 p.m. at Warinanco. The Cougars sit at 10-6-2 and, along with Westfield and Summit, remain a contender for the Union County Championships in late February.
Donations for Will can still be made to Friends of CHS Hockey, 111 James Ave, Cranford NJ 07016.
*Thank you to John Devin for writing and submitting this. Were you at the game? If you have photos you can share, please upload them to the story.