Bellafiore's hat trick propels Parsippany
Parsippany needed all three of Dan Bellafiore’s tallies as it narrowly escaped rival Parsippany Hills, 5-4, on Wednesday in a MSGVarsity.com live-streamed showdown.
In front of a nice sized at Mennen Arena the two Parsippany schools played a thriller that literally went down to the last second with the Vikings just missing on a chance that would have tied the game in the waning moments.
“A little too close for comfort,” said first-year Parsippany coach Jared Wohl, who interestingly is a graduate and former player of Parsippany Hills. “I wanted to win this game to prove to the guys more than anything I’m a Red Hawk now.”
Understanding the importance of the rivalry and early season wins, Wohl had his group juiced up and they came flying out of the gate, scoring less than two minutes in and looking like the much stronger side.
Parsippany Hills would respond just 1:56 later on a sweet move and slick finish by Jeff Zelinskis to knot it at one, but before the halfway point of the first period Bellafiore would pot the third Red Hawks goal and it was looking like the route was on.
To the Vikings credit they never backed down, and after Parsippany squandered some chances, Hills jumped right back in the game on the strength of a Ryan O’Malley goal. Heading into the final frame, it was setting up to be a nail biter with the score 3-2, Parsippany.
“I think we just got away from playing our system and took the pedal off the metal a little bit,” Bellafiore explained after the game. “This is our biggest rival of the season and to get this win on television with so many fans from both sides of town out here, it was awesome.”
It was looking like Parsippany Hills' side of town was going to go home happy as the Vikings tied and then took the lead within the first two minutes of the third frame at 4-3.
However, just 1:07 later it would be big Dakota Duarte’s turn to get on the score sheet for Parsippany as the 6-foot-5, 185-pounder planted himself and front and would not be denied drawing his team even.
Bellafiore would put Parsippany ahead for good with a spectacular individual effort and finished the game with a hat-trick plus a helper.
“He’s a very gifted hockey player,” said Wohl of his star forward. “He’s a talented offensive player and he anchored us big time tonight.“
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