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LONG BRANCH — Monmouth County may still have the advantage in terms of team success, but on an individual level, talent is spread fairly evenly throughout the Shore Conference.

Monmouth County edged Ocean County, 8-6, on Tuesday night at Long Branch High School in the 2014 Shore Conference Coaches Association Senior All-Star Game. Manasquan’s Blaine Birch led a balanced scoring attack with a pair of goals for Monmouth County and was selected as MVP. Christian Brothers Academy’s Thomas Deiner dished out a pair of assists and St. John Vianney’s T.J. Coleman notched a goal and an assist to lead Monmouth to the victory. Ocean’s Bobby Graziano and Shore’s Christian Bostwick each finished with five saves.

Brick’s David Kearns led Ocean County with two goals and two assist. Barnegat’s Matt Grobelny made three saves and Toms River South’s Jeremy Brown stopped four shots.

Manasquan’s Joe Murphy won the fastest shot competition at halftime with a 98 mph blast. Lacey’s Dan Cannon was second at 96 mph.

After a scoreless first quarter, Monmouth jumped out to a 3-0 lead on goals by Holmdel’s Mark Scherzer, Rumson-Fair Haven’s Chris Hubler and Birch in a span of 4:22 to start the second quarter. Scherzer took a pass from Rumson’s Chris Sutphen and beat Brown at 11:32, and Hubler took a feed from Red Bank Catholic’s Ryan Coolahan and buried his shot at 8:19. Birch scored unassisted at 7:11 when he picked up a ground ball off a turnover and scored with Brown out of the net.

Ocean got on the board at 4:38 of the second quarter when Cannon dodged and dished to Brick’s Brendan Rack, who spun with his back to the goal and beat Graziano up high to make it 3-1. Monmouth would push its lead to four goals after Birch finished a cross-crease pass from Coleman and CBA’s Matt McGuiness lasered a shot into the upper left corner 21 seconds apart.

Toms River South’s Dino Vitale cut Ocean’s deficit to 5-2 when he took a pass from Kearns and scored with 1:156 left in the first half.

Ocean County would pull to within one in the third quarter on a pair of unassisted goals. Kearns scored at 10:14 to make it 5-3 and Jackson Memorial’s Scott Wedgeworth tallied at 3:09 to trim Monmouth’s lead to 5-4. Monmouth would scored twice, however, in the final two minutes of the third to take a three-goal lead into the fourth quarter. Deiner fed Wall’s Kyle McDonough from behind the net, and the Crimson Knights senior beat Grobelny with a behind-the-back shot at 1:52. With 17 seconds left, Deiner fed Marlboro’s Chris Coyle, who bounced a shot in to make it  7-4.

Kearns scored unassisted at 9:14 of the fourth quarter to again make it a two-goal game, but Coleman answered just over two minutes later to put Monmouth back up by three. Kearns found Jackson Memorial defenseman Vinny Celidonio with a pass on the run, and Celidonio scored at 6:26 to make it 8-6. Bostwick made two key saves in the final five minutes to preserve the victory.

In the fastest shot contest, the fastest preliminary-round shot from Monmouth County squared off against the fastest from Ocean County. Murphy shot 94 to lead Monmouth and Cannon blasted one at 96 for Ocean. Celidonio and Brick Memorial’s Griffin Carney each shot 95 mph. In the final, Murphy’s 98 mph rocket won him the title.

YOUTH ALL-STAR GAME: Monmouth County defeated Ocean County in the all-star game featuring some of the top eighth-graders from around the Shore. Monmouth County goalie Mike Lapoint was selected as the game’s most valuable player.



Box Score

Monmouth 8, Ocean 6

Ocean        0 2 2 2 - 6

Monmouth 0 5 2 1 - 8

GOALS - O: David Kearns 2, Brendan Rack, Dino Vitale, Scott Wedgeworth, Vinny Celidonio; M: Blaine Birch 2, Mark Scherzer, Chris Hubler, Matt McGuiness, Kyle McDonough, Chris Coyle, T.J. Coleman.

ASSISTS - O: David Kearns 2, Dan Cannon; M: Thomas Deiner 2, Chris Sutphen, Ryan Coolahan, T.J. Coleman.

SAVES - O: Jeremy Brown 4, Matt Grobleny 3: M: Bobby Graziano 5, Christian Bostwick 5.

SHOTS: Monmouth, 36-33.