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WEST LONG BRANCH — When Oliver Heins scored to put Rumson-Fair Haven up by three goals with 2:26 left in regulation it certainly appeared the Bulldogs were on their way to claiming the NJSIAA Group II state championship. Then, in a flash, it all went up in smoke.

Ramapo went on a furious rally with three goals in the final 1:24 of the fourth quarter to tie the game and force overtime, and with 1:42 left in the extra period Jack Griffin scored off a pass from Ryan Sisti as the Raiders shocked Rumson, 12-11, to win the Group II state championship on Wednesday at Shore Regional’s Feeney Field.

Ramapo stunned Rumson, 12-11 in overtime, to win the Group II state title. (Photo by Paula Lopez).
Ramapo stunned Rumson, 12-11 in overtime, to win the Group II state title. (Photo by Paula Lopez).

“The last two minutes were the difference in the game,” said Rumson-Fair Haven head coach Marc Moreau. “We didn’t take care of the ball and they did what they needed to do when they had it.”

“Down 11-8 we were just thinking about getting one goal at a time, getting it to 11-9, then 11-10, then tying the game, and worrying about that 12th goal when the time came,” said Ramapo senior Andrew Robbins, who scored a team-high five goals for the Raiders. “We believed in ourselves.”

Rumson senior midfielder Bryan Hess was incredible in his final high school game, scoring seven goals to fuel the Bulldogs in a wild back-and-forth game. Heins scored twice, Charlie Curran and Ryan Tuorto scored once each and senior goalie Conor Deverin made 11 saves.

Griffin had two goals and two assists for Ramapo while Matt Karsian scored twice, including the game-tying goal with 19 seconds left in regulation. Johnny Caponi made seven saves.

Tied 7-7 heading into the fourth quarter, Ramapo pulled ahead when Griffin set up Robbins for his fourth goal of the game. Rumson would score the next four goals, however, to take an 11-8 lead and seemingly put the game away. Hess tied the game, 8-8, at 7:57 and Heins put Rumson ahead at 6:52. Hess’s seventh goal at 5:43 put Rumson up 10-8 before Heins took a pass from Andrew Walsh and deposited the ball past Caponi with 2:26 left.

At that point, it looked like Rumson had punched its ticket to Bridgewater for the Tournament of Champions, but Ramapo’s incredible run in the state tournament wasn’t done yet.

Robbins scored his fifth goal of the game with 1:24 left to start Ramapo’s comeback, and off another face-off win by freshman Logan Premtaj, Mike Graff scored just 11 seconds later to pull Ramapo to within 11-10.

Rumson had possession late in the game but turned the ball over with about 45 seconds left in regulation. As the clock ticked down Karsian curled around the cage and found the back of the net behind Deverin with 19.6 seconds remaining to force overtime.

Both teams had a possession in overtime and Rumson appeared to have forced a turnover before Griffin’s game-winning goal, but a loose ball push foul resulted in Ramapo keeping possession. Sisti cut in front from X and passed across the crease to a wide-open Griffin, who buried the shot to set off a sea of green Ramapo jerseys storming the field.

Rumson jumped out to 4-0 lead early in the second quarter before Ramapo caught fire to take the lead in the second half. Hess scored at 8:50 of the first and Tuorto made it 2-0 just over a minute later off a pass from senior attackman Alex Werner. Hess then scored 1:28 into the second quarter and added another at 9:23 to put Rumson up by four goals.

Ramapo then scored seven straight goals spanning the second and third quarters to take a 7-4 lead. Karsian got the rally started with a goal at 7:28, and 13 seconds later Griffin scored to make it 4-2. Premtaj was huge for Ramapo at face-off X, providing a major possession advantage during the 7-0 run and again late in the game to power the comeback. He allowed Ramapo to get the quick goals it needed to get back in the game on both occassions.

Robbins’ goal off a pass from Blake Eischen at 5:28 made it 4-3 and Robbins then scored unassisted less than a minute later to tie the score, 4-4, which it remained through halftime. The run continued in the third quarter as Robbins scored off a pass from Eischen, Ty Jaten scored unassisted and defenseman Jack Scordato went end-to-end to put the Raiders up 7-4 midway through the third quarter.

Rumson came back as Hess scored twice to make it 7-6 before Colin Pavluk set up Curran to tie the game, 7-7.

Rumson finishes the season 21-4, including winning the program’s third sectional title and reaching the Shore Conference Tournament final.

“You always want to play as many gams as they’ll allow you to play, so we fell a little short of that,” said Moreau, who completed his first season as Rumson’s head coach. “This is a great group of seniors that has been together since fourth grade, for the most part. I feel lucky to have been able to coach them. As a coach you really wish you could get a couple more years with them because we were just starting to get to know each other. They got us here and carried us through this game.”


Box Score

Ramapo 12, Rumson-Fair Haven 11 (OT)

Ramapo (16-5) 0 4 3 4 1 -- 12

Rumson (21-4) 2 2 3 4 0 -- 11

GOALS -- RAM: Andrew Robbins 5, Matt Karsian 2, Jack Griffin 2, Jack Scrodato, Ty Jaten, Mike Graff; RFH: Bryan Hess 7, Oliver Heins 2, Charlie Curran, Ryan Tuorto.

ASSISTS -- RAM: Blake Eischen 2, Matt Karsian 2, Mike Graff, Ryan Sisti: RFH: Colin Pavluk 2, Andrew Walsh, Alex Werner.

SAVES -- RAM: Johnny Caponi 7; RFH: Conor Deverin 11.

SHOTS: Rumson, 38-35.


Managing editor Bob Badders can be reached at bob.badders@townsquaremedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @Bob_Badders. Like Shore Sports Network on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel for all the latest video highlights.


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