UNION, NJ – As the late, great Tom Petty sang, “The waiting is the hardest part.”
In a game that took two days to play because of a balky ice resurfacing machine — yes, the Zamboni — the number-one seeded Summit High School Boys Varsity Ice Hockey Team opened their quest for a NJSIAA Public C championship three-peat by defeating 17th-seeded Madison 5-0 at the Union Sports Arena.
The two-time defending champs — who haven’t lost since December 29, 2019 — are undefeated in 16 contests and won their 12th straight game to improve to 19-3-2 on the season. The Maroon and White now advances to take on ninth-seeded Verona on March 2 at the Warinanco Skating Center.
After the Union Sports Arena Zamboni decided to take a mechanical rest the afternoon prior just as it was completing its elliptical journey before the start of the second period, the Hilltoppers and the Dodgers had to wait 19 hours or so to resume play. When the game was halted, Summit led 1-0 on a power play goal from Tom Pryymak, which was assisted by classmate and fellow captain Jake Puskar.
Pryymak’s goal would be one of three man-advantage tallies that Summit would deposit over the, well, two days.
Emulating a human DVR, Pryymak scored again when play resumed the following day, assisted by senior Joe Galgano. Then Pryymak turned provider, teaming up with junior Greg Spitznagel to assist on junior Kyle Graham’s power play score to make it 3-0. Summit’s special teams continued to be special when junior Michael Bonomo found the back of the net — again on the power play — assisted by junior Matt Vigliotta.
As the teams went to the break, The ‘Top was comfortably on top, 4-0.
Senior captain Spencer Myers fed Spitznagel who broke in alone on goal to make it 5-0 in the third, leaving the only unanswered question as to whether senior goaltender Nikita Pryymak and his teammates could get the shutout. They did, with the whitewash being Nikita Pryymak’s ninth of the campaign, which set a new school record for shutouts in a season, topping his own previous mark of eight.
The Hilltoppers outshot Madison 33-30. Keaton Tom had 28 saves for the Dodgers.
Summit versus Verona is set for March 2 at Warinanco. The puck drops at 6:50 p.m.