If you blinked at the wrong time in the first period, you might have missed the flurry that defined the championship game of the Mayor's Cup tournament at Winding River Arena on Wednesday night.
That's because three goals were scored in the span of 12 seconds -- one by Toms River East, and two in reply by Toms River North -- as North dominated rival East in a 13-3 victory to secure the Mayor's Cup trophy.
“The Mayor's Cup is a great honor for any Toms River hockey team,” said Dean Marusic, who serves as Winding River Arena's hockey director. Marusic also called Wednesday night's hockey doubleheader. “This is an annual holiday tournament that's extra special because not only is it fun for the community, but it's also presented by Toms River Township.”
The Mayor's Cup was established in 2003 and the tournament has been held at the Winding River Arena since 2006. The 2010 Mayor's Cup game was cancelled due to severe snowstorms. It gets the community involved as well as the teams: Toms River Councilman John Sevastakis dropped the first puck to signal the start of Wednesday's championship game.
The flurry of scoring -- three goals in 12 seconds -- came about halfway into the first period. Toms River East scored the first goal of the game at 8:42. North answered with a goal seven seconds later and then, as if to emphasize its position, added another at 8:54 to give the Mariners a 2-1 lead. North added another goal at 10:07.
East came back with its second goal, but North responded with its fourth goal to close out the first period. That 4-2 score was the closest the two teams would be the rest of the game.
In the second period the Mariners pulled away, scoring two goals less than a minute into the period and adding a total of six unanswered goals in the period, giving North a 10-2. Both North coach Christian Cranston and East coach Bruce Kocenski were animated.
“This was a great game with high scoring and physicality,” said Marusic.
East got its third goal early in the third period but that was all the Raiders got. North responded with three straight scores. The game ended at 8:59 of the third period, after officials enforced the mercy rule.
The Mariners' Joe Campisano was named the game's Most Valuable Player, after logging four goals and three assists.
“Both teams played hard,” Marusic said. “Congratulations to North for their well-deserved win. If I were East, I wouldn't be down on myself. They're a young team and they'll be back. I know the crowd in attendance is thankful for the great game we saw. I certainly am.”