WEST ORANGE, NJ – There are Hat Tricks and then there are Hat Tricks.
Summit captain Tom Pryymak scored his third goal of the game, just 42 seconds into overtime, as the Summit High School Boys Varsity Ice Hockey Team came back from a two-goal deficit to defeat Montclair and claim the McInnis Cup 3-2 at the Codey Ice Arena.
Goals by Montclair’s Oscar Rosen and Jared Topf put the Maroon and White in 2-0 hole before Summit got into gear in the second period. Junior Kyle Graham found Pryymak to halve the deficit and then, in the final period with less than 10 minutes remaining, Summit went on the power play and Pryymak tied the game. The assists went to senior captain Jake Puskar and junior Greg Spitznagel. Neither team could break the deadlock and a ‘golden goal’ scenario was set up — a piece of hardware on the line with the next goal claiming the spoils.
The Hilltoppers actually went on the power play in the final minute of the final period and, while they did not score in regulation, the penalty carried over to overtime. There, the same two Hilltoppers that set-up Pryymak’s game-tying goal would again do the assist honors — this time in reverse order — on the trophy-winning tally.
Like a true ‘power forward’, Pryymak took the puck in stride on his off-wing as he crossed the blueline, used his speed to create some space on a defender, then cut hard to the net from the lower left face-off rim before beating Mounties’ netminder Lucas Podvey on his forehand from just outside the crease.
The score served as the cue for a Summit dogpile just behind the net, the celebration proceeding another victorious Hilltopper trophy presentation and mandatory on-ice team photo.
Summit outshot the Mounties 26-25. Senior goaltender Nikita Pryymak and Montclair’s Podvey each had 23 saves.
The ‘Top has now won 11 straight games — a span in which they have outscored the opposition 63-14 — and improved to 18-3-2 with the victory.
Summit, seeded number-one, will now begin its quest for a NJSIAA Public C three-peat when it takes on the winner of the preliminary-round game pitting 17th-seeded Madison against 16th-seeded Millburn on February 28 at the Union Sports Arena. The puck drops at 4:10 p.m.