Five goals from Max Kuznetsov—who averaged over a hat trick a game in South Jersey High School Hockey League action—led the Eastern Regional (N.J.) Vikings to a 10-0 rout of the St. Mark’s Spartans in their Flyers Cup quarterfinal on Monday (March 12) at the Patriot Ice Center in Newark, Del.
Kuznetsov wasted no time putting the Vikings on the board on a first-shift two-on-one chance, batting a centering pass from Conor Riley past St. Mark’s goalie Billy Pierce 23 seconds into the game. Jacob Finley followed 40 seconds later with a net-front redirect before Ethan Raeuber backhanded the third Eastern goal home from the left edge of the crease on another odd-man rush at 8:32. Raeuber’s second goal of the game at 12:54 brought on controversy as Pierce was knocked down in the crease as the puck crossed the goal line, but the play was ruled free of goaltender interference. Kuznetsov came back with 12 seconds left in the first period, rifling his second goal of the game into the top right corner of the Spartans net directly off an attacking-zone faceoff.
After their first period tour de force put them up 5-0, Eastern kept their offensive onslaught up at full force through the second—and final—period. Kuznetsov broke through two-ply defensive pressure on the far boards of the St. Mark’s zone to give himself a clear lane for a top-shelf wrist shot from 35 feet 1:29 into the second period before adding two further goals later in the frame, including a short-handed tally in from the left side with 25 seconds remaining. Ryan Karbach and Riley accounted for the other Eastern goals in the second period.
With Eastern up 10-0 through 32 minutes of play, the remainder of the game was called off due to Flyers Cup protocol.
Isaac Bleicher earned a shutout in net for the Vikings, stopping all 23 shots he faced, while Pierce managed 29 saves on 39 total shots.
Eastern advances to the Flyers Cup semifinal round, contested Wednesday (March 14).
In other Flyers Cup action on Monday:
• Kingsway 6, Appoquinimink 3
The Kingsway Dragons defeated Appoquinimink, 6-3, in a preliminary matchup, also held at the Patriot Ice Center. Joe Bene led the Dragons with a hat trick, pulling his side out of a 3-2 deficit to the Jaguars with three of four consecutive Kingsway tallies, including both the tying and winning goals in the second period and another in the third. Mark Higginbotham backstopped Kingsway in victory with 34 saves.
Jonny Schwarz recorded two assists for Appoquinimink, setting up linemates Shane Hindt and Nathan Panchisin before the Dragons’ late onslaught.
• Washington Township 11, Shawnee 8
A six-goal night from Dom Garozzo led Washington Township over Shawnee, 11-8, in a preliminary matchup in the Garden State. Despite only fielding a dozen skaters, Washington Township accounted for 50 shots in the fast-paced game. After finishing the first period deadlocked at 5-5, the Minutemen sped clear of Shawnee with a 5-1 middle frame—three of those goals off the stick of Garozzo.
• Cherokee 11, Delaware Military Academy 4
After alternating goals through the first seven minutes, the Cherokee Chiefs outpaced the DMA Seahawks at the Flyers Skate Zone in Voorhees, N.J., drawing away to an 11-4 quarterfinal victory. A pair of Alex Maglio goals kept the Seahawks tied 2-2 nearing the midway point of the first period before Cherokee mounted a 5-1 run leading into the first four minutes of the second. Jeremy Ambrose led the Chiefs with a hat trick, while Alex Maglio potted three of DMA’s four goals.
Two quarterfinal games remain, and both are scheduled for Tuesday (March 13). Top-seeded Moorestown will host Kingsway at the Flyers Skate Zone, while No. 2 seed Salesianum will host Washington Township at the Patriot Ice Center. The Salesianum-Washington Township game will air on Delaware Hockey Night Radio, with coverage to begin at 8:15 p.m. EDT.