Hockey - Boys Junior Varsity
|Date:||December 7, 2013|
|Score:||Berkshire 4 - Taft 4|
After suffering an embarrassing defeat in their opening game on the road versus Kent earlier in the week, the Bears looked to rebound at home versus perennial rival Taft. Berkshire had made significant adjustments to their forechecking system, moving from a traditional 3-2 front to a hybrid 2-2-1 in hopes of generating more turnovers in the offensive zone while maximizing coverage in their own defensive area. With only two days to implement these change since their previous game, and with many personnel new to the unique system, it remained an open question of whether or not the Bears could put all of the pieces together in time. By the end of the game, the answer was clear that when the team bought into the system, they would find a great deal of success.
The opening two periods were characterized by a much more aggressive Bears squad. Forwards were pursuing pucks and maintaining pressure on a forecheck, and defensemen were jumping in and crashing on loose pucks in the offensive zone, while maintaining their composure in their own zone and calmly skating up the ice with the puck and making smart outlet passes. Though there were defensive lapses at times due to the novelty of the system being played, Berkshire was able to make up for their mistakes by a combination of effort, and stellar play by goaltender Calder Ryan '13. P.J. Webb '15 was able to break the ice and score on a long wrist shot from the top of the circle midway through the opening frame. Excited and energized from their first lead of the season, Berkshire would go on to score one more goal in the second period before giving up a late goal to Taft, and ending the second with the Bears leading 2 to 1 as they headed into intermission.
For all of the intensity the Bears captured in the opening two periods, Taft managed to mirror and increase to open the third. Berkshire resorted to playing like a group of individuals, with singular efforts leading to costly turnovers and Taft goals. The Bears found themselves routinely out of position, and through they were working hard in skating after pucks and maintaining a physical presence throughout the rink, positional play and selflessness was sorely lacking. Berkshire learned quickly about the effects of losing patience, and Taft buried three unanswered goals to take a 4 to 2 lead with just under ten minutes remaining in the contest. After at timeout was called, Berkshire was instructed to relax and let go of the anxiety of losing the lead; they were told to simplify their responsibilities and trust their instincts; they were encouraged to believe that they can regain the control of the game and had to trust that they could win only if they played together. Fortunately the Bears took the message to heart, and mounted a dramatic comeback with Josiah Tolvo '16 and Luke Amero '16 scoring the final two goals of the game. Overtime would result with no goals being scored and the game ended in a 4 to 4 tie, through Ryan once again stopped odd man rushes and breakaways to conserve the score. Though it was a game that Berkshire had the ability to win, the boys deserve credit for facing adversity and working together in mounting their comeback. It was a positive turn and one to build on as they head into future contests.