The Jr. Bills took the ice against CBC last Friday in one of the biggest games of the regular season. The Cadets came into the game strong and scored within the first three minutes, but the Jr. Bills held back the Cadets and killed a late power play to keep the score close.
“Everybody thought we were still in the game,” said senior Justin Jacoby. “In the first period we were playing really well, but after they scored some bad goals that really put us down.”
Things began to look more bleak for the Jr. Bills in the second period. CBC scored a goal three minutes into the second, and then another one with eight minutes remaining to go up 3-0. The team wasn’t clicking, as both goals come from mental mistakes, one coming off of a power play and one coming off an offensive turnover.
“Honestly the whole bench was dead,” said senior Nathan Pawlow. “There was no motivation to play and the whole team was mad at each other. It was CBC. We were looking forward to this game the whole (season) and after that first goal we just lost motivation.”
Junior Jack Hazelton made a great move through the CBC defense and was tripped leading to a Jr. Bills power play.
The offense was unable to put the puck in the net and CBC killed the penalty.
“We didn’t do much right,” said sophomore Matt Warnecke. “It was clear emotions were getting to a lot of the players. We weren’t ready for the game and they were.”
After the power play, the Cadets took control again, scoring with eleven minutes remaining and again before the game was over, making the final score 5-0.
“The mood was down after the CBC game,” said coach Jack Behan. “We only had six players with ten or more games of varsity experience (and) it was a good learning experience. The game identified some areas that we need improvement (in) and we are addressing those areas.”
After the tough loss, SLUH had to recover quickly to face off against Chaminade at the Affton Ice Rink the next night. The Jr. Bills looked in control early in the first when junior Alex Beville scored with eleven minutes left to give the Jr. Bills an early lead.
The rest of the first remained quiet on the scoreboard, but did not lack opportunities as the Jr. Bills put up ten shots and Chaminade put up five. Without some great saves from senior goalie Dylan Bak the game could have easily been tied.
“Their goalie was playing really well,” said Pawlow. “We got a lot of shots, but we just couldn’t get a lucky bounce in.”
The second period was marked by aggressive play by both teams. Both defenses were playing physically, but the period did not lack offense as both teams let another five shots off. Chaminade scored with six minutes left to tie the game up and the score would remain 1-1 to finish out the second.
“We outplayed Chaminade in that game,” said Jacoby. “It was a defensive battle, it was just one of those games where it felt like nothing could really happen.”
The third period played very similar to the second. Play was aggressive for both teams, but neither team could find the net for the rest of the game, which ended with a 1-1 tie. This was the Jr. Bills’ first tie of the season.
“The guys were frustrated after the Chaminade game,” said Behan. “We played well, but we did not score on numerous great chances. The game was tilted heavily in our favor play-wise (and it was) frustrating to only score one goal.”
The SLUH hockey team does not take the ice again until next Thursday when they play Parkway South at the Affton ice rink. They are looking to use their short break to improve in the areas that were lacking this week.
“This really came at the right time for us,” said Behan. “We have an opportunity to address some issues and some of the players will be given the opportunity to look in the mirror to reflect on how they must improve themselves to be effective. Adversity is a good thing if you have the mental toughness to fight through it. We will learn a lot about our team moving forward.”