Thirds hockey traveled to scenic Watertown to take on the Taft Rhinos Wednesday. Playing amidst the antique, but chilly, charm of the older of Taft's two rinks, the boys came up against a stronger, deeper opponent. For this game, head coach Minnesota Mike Bjurlin installed the old-school "Box and One" system, hoping that disciplined play in the defensive zone would lead to turnovers and breakaway opportunities in the offensive zone. Through the first period, the boys kept their feet moving, maintained their shape, and were able to spring both Dandy Danny Ives '15 and Eric "Smithers" Smith '14 for solo opportunities that were unfortunately thwarted by the alert Rhino netminder. After Taft snuck a power play goal by the sprawling Nick "Great Wall" Greco '13, the Bears' D tightened up, with the "Bedford Bruiser," Richie Riegel '15 in particular playing a solid game on the blue line.
The Bears finally lit the lamp late in the second period when, with the good guys shorthanded, Smith caught a pass in the neutral zone. He turned, applied a crushing check to the Taft defender, and went 5-hole on the stunned goalie, who at that point undoubtedly feared for his safety. Going into the locker room for the second intermission, the Bears were down 3-1, and as the horse-drawn Zamboni circled the rink in the frigid air outside, the boys plotted their comeback under the flickering lanterns of the warming hut. Once back on the ice, though, the Rhinos got the next goal, putting them up 4-1, and dashing the Bears' hopes of a comeback. Charlie "Chuckles" Erdmann '16 managed an impressive shorthanded tally after a bold dash down the left wing, but a final Taft goal, at the end of a 5 on 3 power play, made the final score 5-2.
The Bears head down Route 22 on Saturday to take on the Trinity-Pawling Pride in their ongoing search for the answers to life's persistent questions.