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Controversial shootout goal dashes New Jersey hockey team's state title hopes

Ben Rohrbach
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After Gloucester (N.J.) Catholic High goaltender Andrew Sharkus cleared his final attempt to prolong a win-or-go-home shootout from the crease and the nearest referee signaled the game over, Morristown (N.J.)-Beard High's Teddy Hatfield sat with his helmet bowed and his back to the ensuing celebration.

After 60 minutes of hockey and four shootout rounds, thirteenth-seeded Gloucester Catholic had just pulled off the upset of No. 4 Morristown-Beard in the second round of the Non-Public state tournament.

Or maybe not.

A second referee located behind the play called Hatfield's shot a goal and convinced the ref located at the goal line during a brief on-ice conference to tie the shootout, 2-2. After the entire Gloucester Catholic roster uncovered Sharkus at the bottom of the pigpile, Morristown-Beard goalie Daniel Porth's stop and teammate Josh Schappel's ensuing shootout goal reversed the decision, 5-4.

The Newark Star-Ledger, which has another angle of the shot, covered the controversial goal at length.

"It was our game -- we should have won," Gloucester Catholic coach Guy Gaudreau told The Star-Ledger after reviewing the controversial goal on tape. "The video shows it hit the post and never went in. We will protest. I just feel bad for the kids. They know it never went in."

Indeed, Schappel admitted to the paper, "We didn't think it was a goal, but we didn't have the greatest angle." Still, Morristown-Beard coach Randy Velischek -- who played 10 NHL seasons for the Minnesota North Stars, New Jersey Devils and Quebec Nordiques -- isn't conceding defeat, either. 

"It was controversial," he told The Star-Ledger. "One referee saw it go in, one didn't. I can see why the losing team feels slighted, feels taken advantage of. Either one of these teams deserve to be moving on."

Naturally, Gloucester Catholic isn't too happy with the result, considering its state title hopes were dashed by such a strange set of circumstances -- exacerbated by a pair of blown two-goal leads in the loss.

"It hit the post so hard they thought it was in. It hit the post, then I whacked it away. It never went in," Sharkus told the paper. "I'm being told it's on video and they still won't change it."

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