OH SO CLOSE! Bandits Lose 3-2 Heart-Breaker
Posted March 27, 2016
The way things had played out, all the Bandits needed to do to go to the City Final AND earn a berth at provincials was to tie or win. But we were facing the #1 team in Oakridge.
Things took a dark turn almost immediately, as Oakridge scored a very lucky goal on their first shot, a shot from a distance that was going wide but deflected off at least one if not more players past a startled Kyle, who had no chance. Oakridge then started to dominate play well into the second period, out-shooting the Bandits 16-7 at one point to take a 2-0 lead (again, no fault of Kyle, who had been holding us in the game).
But then the improbable happened and the Bandits scored what must be one of the prettiest goals I've seen all season. It started with Patrick in our own zone, fighting off several Oakridge players to get and keep the puck long enough to pass up to Kasey and send him and Ryan out on a 2-on-1. Now, one thing I've noticed this season, especially of late, is how Kasey's game has evolved so that he's become the best play-maker on the ice. Attesting to this is that, in the previous 7 games, he had 11 assists. On this play, he could have shot; but he didn't. He held it just long enough for the Oakridge defenseman to commit himself, and then feathered a pass over to Ryan streaking down the left wing. Then Ryan flashed a pair of hands Mitch Marner would be proud of, to tail-drag the puck and then fire it almost straight up over the startled goalie's shoulder into the top of the net.
THAT'S when everything changed and the Bandits started coming on.
Persistence paid off when Alec paid heed to the old adage: when it doubt, put the puck on the net. Even though he was in the far corner with no angle, he fired it towards the net and the miracle comeback was complete, as the puck somehow careened off someone to tie the game.
There were just 7 minutes left. All we had to do... was keep the tie. For almost 6 minutes, that's what the boys did, even killing off a two-minute penalty to drag the game into the final two minutes.
But then bad luck hit; the puck took a funny bounce from behind Kyle's net and deflected over to the one free Oakridge player, who stuffed it in, short side. A spirited effort to re-tie the game, including another monster shot from Cal that hit someone out front and deflected just wide, just ran out of time.
What still remains, however, is one final game to play for the bronze medal, which would be a great accomplishment for a team that finished 5th.
1. Ryan G. (1 G, 0A, +0, 3 shots) - perhaps Ryan's best game, and certainly one of the prettiest goals I've seen this season.
2. Kasey (0 G, 1 A, +0, 2 shots) - a gorgeous assist to add to his recent rise as an elite playmaker.
3. Kyle (23 shots, 20 saves) - voted team MVP at the end of the game, by the players themselves, and again showed everyone why he deserved this.
Honorable Mention: The remaining 10 skaters who showed up, most of them having shown up to games all season long. Note that Dylan was voted Most Dedicated Player, another well-deserved award, given that he was the ONLY player to show up to all 22 games and played hard every single shift. Also to Nathan McIntyre, who was voted by his team mates as Most Improved Player; and to Andrew Vella, who despite being among the penalty minute leaders, was voted Most Sportsmanlike Player.
The next and last game of the season will be tonight, Sunday March 27th at 8:30 at Kinsman Arena. See you there to win BRONZE!