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Hockey - Boys Junior Varsity Avon Varsity B

Event Type: Regular
Advantage:Home

Date: January 22, 2014

Result:Loss
Score:Berkshire 0 - Avon 1

Event Recap:
The Bears looked to bounce back from dropping two of their last three games since opening the new year with a victory. After having lost 6-1 on the road to the Avon Varsity B club in their previous match earlier in the season, Berkshire was eager to prove to themselves and their opponents that they were capable of competing with fast, physical, and experienced hockey clubs. Though the Bears would start out of the gates slowly, senior goaltender Calder Ryan '14 was up to the task in turning aside first and second chance opportunities that Avon created. After a few rocky shifts with play being dominated by Avon, the Bears clawed their way back into the contest and remained engaged in what turned out to be one of their best games of the season.
Avon managed to convert on a defensive zone turnover midway through the first period, with Ryan making the initial save but being unable to get across the crease to stop the unmarked opponent for the second chance rebound. Berkshire responded with offensive outbursts of their own in the period, though pucks ended up being buried in the goaltenders midsection and prevented further opportunities for forwards crashing to the goal. Both teams traded offensive chances, but as the period grew on Berkshire had finally established a few consistent shifts that built up confidence that they carried through to the second period.
Trailing 1-0, Berkshire started the second period showing a grit and determination that suggested they would even the score in no time. However, an unfortunate major penalty was assessed after just a few shifts into the second frame to senior Johnny Grogan '14. Despite Berkshire then being down to just four defensemen for the remainder of the game, and having to work in a man-down situation for almost four minutes, the Bears executed textbook defense on their penalty kill, with key contributions coming from all four defense and several forwards; captain Matty Wieczorek '14 and Jack Gustavson '16 were particularly impressive in their work, handling multiple shifts of penalty killing with timely aplomb. Though the Bears wouldn't be able to even the score before the period ended, the momentum had started to favor the home team, with PJ Webb '15, Connor Shalleck '16, and Nick Palumbo '17 leading the offensive charge. 
The third period saw Berkshire continue to impress in both offensive and defensive zones, but Avon did a terrific job in reducing any second chance opportunities for the Bears. The home team's pressure had pushed Avon into a high trap in the offensive zone, effectively conceding their forecheck in favor of a superior defensive position. The gambit worked for the remainder of the game, as though Berkshire continued to put pucks into the zone, Avon was routinely able to gain control back and clear it out of their own end. Despite pulling the goaltender for the last minute and  a half, the Bears simply couldn't find the back of the net. The lone first period goal by Avon proved to be the winner.
Though disappointed with the loss, the Bears played perhaps their best game of the season and had demonstrated the type of incremental improvement that suggests more good things are in store for the young club.
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