Hockey - Boys Junior Varsity
|Date:||February 8, 2014|
|Score:||Berkshire 3 - Canterbury 4|
Event Recap:Players had spent the past few days of practice looking to make fewer high-risk plays and simplify their game, and ensuring that all five players on the ice stayed involved in all zones throughout the shift. The Bears entered their game versus a strong Canterbury club with the singular goal of finding a way to win by whatever means necessary, hoping to translate the lessons in practice to success in the game. There was a focus and energy prior to the puck drop that suggested everyone on the roster was ready, and forwards and defense both demonstrated a renewed jump once the game began that had been missing on our home ice as of late. Though Canterbury would open the scoring in the first, Berkshire was quick to respond with a powerplay goal from the line of PJ Webb '15, Connor Shalleck '16, and Nick Palumbo '17, who consistently generated offense throughout the game. The first period proved to be a lesson in discipline as a rough and tumble flavor dominated the opening frame - Berkshire managed to maintain their composure at key moments, lost them at others, but senior leaders Johnny Grogan '14 and Matty Wieczorek '14 did an excellent job at conveying the right message to the team throughout the game.
As the physical play continued into the second period, the referees became more involved in penalty calling and much of the play was driven by special teams. Berkshire squandered a few excellent opportunities - from goal posts, shots fired just wide, and solid goaltending from the Saints, Berkshire couldn't find a way to get on the board early in the period despite having so many chances. Fortunately the Bears were up to the challenge on their penalty kills, with key contributions from Josiah Tovlo '17 and Chris Zafanella '15 blocking shots and keeping the puck away from dangerous areas. To cap off an excellent penalty kill Luke Amero '16 made a singular effort in stealing a puck in the Berkshire zone on a Canterbury powerplay and scored a short handed goal. Luke played a tremendous game from start to finish, demonstrating a speed and aggressive play that no opposing player could match. Canterbury and Berkshire would trade a pair of goals to finish the period, with Mark Driscoll '17 scoring to finally help the Bears convert their second powerplay goal of the night on a nice play between defensive partner Vaughn Kavanaugh '15 and forwards Jack Gustavson '16, Ivan Kulchitsky '16, and Wieczorek.
Though Berkshire held to a 3-2 lead entering the period, the message in the locker room was not to be complacent with a single digit lead, and to continue pressuring their opponent while staying out of penalty trouble. Though the Bears continued to execute their forecheck well and limited Canterbury's offensive opportunities, a barrage of penalties - from minor infractions to misconducts - forced the Bears to have to play exclusively in their own zone on repeated occasions, giving the Saints the momentum and opportunity needed to even the score with a few a half a period remaining. Though Berkshire successfully killed a last-minute penalty to end the period tied 3-3, Canterbury would move the puck into the Berkshire zone in the first shift of overtime and score on a third chance rebound opportunity following a 3-1 rush. Once again goaltender Calder Ryan '14 performed admirably in goal, stopping all first-chance shots and often stealing away sure-goals from the Canterbury offense.
Though disappointed with their loss, the Bears demonstrated to be a much improved group since their last game over a week ago, and look forward to three games in six days as opportunities to earn their next win of the year.