• Mike Gurnis

Vernon's Santaita records 100th point, team inches closer to state tourney

Vernon senior forward T.J. Santaita picked up the 100th point of his career on Friday night in Vernon's 7-1 win over Northern Valley.

In the game, Santaita recorded a goal and four assists for a total of five points, which put him at exactly 100 career points. He has netted 24 goals and dished out 17 assists for the Vikings this season, a year after missing most of the 2018-19 season with an injury, which limited him to just four goals and four assists.

The win improved Vernon to 10-10, and with two games remaining, is in good position to finish at the .500 mark to qualify for the state tournament. It has two games remaining, as it will face West Essex-Caldwell tonight at Skylands Ice World at 8, before facing Sparta-Jefferson on Monday. A win in either of those games would guarantee Vernon at least a .500 finish and a state tournament berth.

All of this comes after Vernon started the season 1-6. It has won four games in a row to this point, and is locked into the fourth seed for the Halvorsen Cup tournament, where it will face fifth seed Sparta-Jefferson in the first round.

In Friday's game, Ayden Steinbach tallied two goals and three assists, and Dylan Shea added two goals and two assists. Evan Steinbach also had two goals and an assist. Ozzie Deluca made 35 saves.

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