Crest teen to play in ice hockey nationals

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Wildwood Crest resident Sam Fitzpatrick’s long ice hockey season will continue into early April.

Fitzpatrick and his Jaguars club team will compete in the 16U Tier II National Championships in Troy, Mich., beginning April 3 after the team captured the New Jersey state championship last week.

Fitzpatrick, 16, a high school junior who also plays hockey at St. Augustine Prep, was the starting goalie for the Jaguars in all five games during the team’s playoff run, which included three wins in early-round games before the Jaguars swept a three-game series over the defending state champion Skyland Kings in the championship.

Fitzpatrick conceded only seven goals and posted one shutout over the course of the five playoff games.

This is the Jaguars’ first state championship in the five years Fitzpatrick has competed with the team.

“It was awesome for me,” Fitzpatrick said. “It’s something a lot of people haven’t won. A lot of players go through their whole youth hockey career and never get the chance to compete for a state championship. To win in my first opportunity in a state championship, it was amazing.”

The Jaguars are based out of Mt. Laurel. The team’s total record for the season, which began in August, is 50-6-7. They went unblemished in Midget AA League regular-season play in the South Division, allowing only 10 goals total during their 18 division games.

The Jaguars posted wins of 3-0 and 5-2 in the championship series against Skyland. The team’s earlier playoff wins were by 6-3 over Brick Township, 5-1 over Old Bridge Junior Knights and 3-1 over New Jersey Freeze.

The Jaguars are guaranteed at least three games in pool play at the upcoming national tournament. The top teams in pool play will advance to the playoff round.

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