Scar Wars: The Scorers Awaken
If you've been paying attention to the buzz in the air for all of 2015, you'll no doubt be aware that this winter a much anticipated saga continues. It's a story many in Caronport have known from childhood- a skilled band of dedicated combatants loyal to a righteous higher power battling against the established empire and their occasionally darker tactics.
We're talking, of course, about the new hockey season for the Briercrest Clippers.
The 2015/2016 campaign began Friday night against the Keyano Huskies. Snazzy new uniforms, lots of visiting alumni for homecoming weekend, and a vocal crowd created lots of energy and excitement as the first puck dropped on this year's edition of Briercrest hockey. This first look at the team showed flashes of brilliance throughout, but saw the visiting Huskies capitalize on some lapses en route to victory.
Keyano struck early, taking some of the electricity out of the home crowd. Briercrest showed excellent composure, however, as Josh Peters and Jacob Baribeau created a great rush and Ben Feere deftly buried the puck to even the score. Briercrest, quite uncharacteristically, began taking penalties, and this would continue throughout the game. Keyano struck twice, once on a scrambled face-off, to take a 3-1 lead into the first break.
The home side came out in the second period with renewed vigour, creating chances and checking more effectively. Taylor Epp, Brett Lafond, and Josh Anderson applied good pressure early on, and the penalty killing unit successfully extinguished three more powerplay opportunities for the guests. Josh Anderson then finished a clean but hard check on a Keyano winger, which seemed to unhinge him as he took a roughing penalty against Briercrest's captain minutes later. BJ Pirus, assisted by Epp and Lafond, snapped the puck over the shoulder of Huskies goaltender Logan Stebner to cut the lead to 3-2. Keyano answered late in the period, taking a 4-2 advantage after 40 minutes of play.
A good defensive pinch by first year Clipper Marvin Powell created some early opportunity in the third period, but it was a seeing-eye point shot from Keyano moments later that would extend their lead. Ben Feere, assisted by Micah Abbott and Joachim Hanberg, roofed a beautiful goal to give his visiting family and the whole crowd another moment of celebration, but three penalties for Briercrest led to three more goals for the Huskies and the game ended 8-3.
There are many things to be optimistic about, despite the unflattering result. Newcomers Josiah Friesen and Alex Bechtold each drew penalties with their speed and hard work, and Jacob Baribeau was crafty and dangerous on his featured athlete night. The heart and brotherhood of this group were also very evident in adversity. It's only 3% of the season, and there will be time to realize their potential.
Players of the game were Ben Feere for Briercrest and Owen Solecki for Keyano. The rematch starts Saturday at 2:00.
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