Written by Duane Harlick:
Regardless of what sport you play or what league you play
in, there is always that one game, against that one team; THE game, that takes on a life of its own. And every player understands that the game’s outcome will inevitably place an exclamation point on the season. The hockey rivalry between the Royal Oak Ravens and the Berkley Bears has taken on this character, and so it was no surprise that the game played between these two teams on Wednesday night at Lindell Arena had all the tension, fanfare and
spirit of a deciding game in a playoff run. The stands were packed with fans for both teams and the building was quaking! In the end, the Ravens stunned the
first place division clinching Bears with a resounding 3 – 1 victory.
Coach Ward of the Ravens commented, “It was a big game for us. We focused on what we had to accomplish all week and we implemented what we had to do. Overall we played hard, did the little things, and won the battles we had to win. It was a great game with an atmosphere that was second to none. ”
It was a tightly checked game through the first, although
Berkley seemed to have the advantage at times, as the Ravens were in the penalty box early. But Raven Senior goaltender Max Benoit was outstanding in net, turning away every shot the Bears threw at him, providing several critical and potentially game turning saves.
Going into the second period scoreless, it was the Ravens
who turned up the heat. Senior Seth Schuit and Junior Evan Fall both scored gutsy, grinding goals to give the Ravens a 2 – 0 lead. Eventually, an errant pass would lead to a Berkley goal late in the period, leaving the Ravens up
The third period was a loud, nail-biting affair. With the
Ravens clinging to a 1 goal lead, both teams clawed and scratched their way up and down the ice while the fans roared their support. Both goaltenders were rock solid. Then, with only a few seconds left on the game clock, Raven forward Evan Fall broke free and danced in all alone on the Bears goaltender and tallied the Ravens final goal with a highlight reel shot. The scoreboard ran off the remaining fraction of a second and the Ravens erupted into a well-earned celebration!!
“We had some moments that normally we do not get out of,” said Ward, “but the players decided that it was not going to happen last night. This shows that this program is moving in the right direction. The coaching staff and the players would like to thank the fans for their support.
We would like to see this every game at home and on the road.” Other Raven standouts included #4, Junior defenseman Drew Hall who put in a solid and
physical defensive effort and #5 Junior forward Kevin Trumble who energized his penalty killing line, keeping the Bears off their game and off the board.
The Ravens will be participating in the MAC-OAA Showcase
this Saturday at Rochester’s Onyx arena. For more information, go to http://www.royaloakravens.com/
or follow the Ravens on Facebook here: www.facebook.com/royaloakhighschoolvarsityhockeyteam.