Boys Varsity Hockey falls short to East Kentwood 2-1 on a late goal

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An early goal by sophomore Peter Bardelli only two minutes into the second period was thought to be the signs of a big conference win for FHC. That, however, was not the case. The Rangers fell to the East Kentwood Falcons 2-1 in a very evenly matched game Friday night in front of a packed crowd at Patterson Ice Center. The young stars for FHC continue to shine, with Peter scoring his first varsity goal yesterday.

“It felt great to get the early goal and go up 1-0,” Bardelli said. “It was also great to give our team momentum as the game progressed.”

The first period was dominated by two goalies giving it their all and not allowing either team to get any early advantages. EK had some early chances to score, but junior goalie Carl Mielock made some outstanding saves to send a message early to the Falcons that this would not be an easy game. Even on a couple power plays for EK, Carl stayed strong and denied everything shot his way.

An exchange of goals by EK and the Rangers showed that the second period was changed from the first. Peter’s goal, assisted by senior Jacob Demeter, could have been a huge tone-setter for the rest of the game. The Rangers, disappointingly, struggled to adjust to a more speedy EK line and they let up a goal to tie things up at 1-1 just two minutes later. The Rangers still looked more confident than they had in the first, which was shown by the numerous shots on goal throughout the period.

Coach Kevin Zaschak explains what he told his team that led to a great offensive 2nd period.

“It was all about just attention to details,” Zaschak said. “We just have to do all the little things, focus on the details, and get pucks out. In the beginning of the year, we worked on competing and now we are focusing on the details.”

The third period started much like the first, with numerous shots on goal amounting to nothing. Both goalies were showing out again and making some very key saves. But with 5:35 remaining in the third, EK slipped in a goal after many attempts to get the puck to the back of the net. FHC tried going with an empty net to get an extra scorer on the ice, but the Rangers could not convert as the final seconds ticked away.

Senior captain Charlie Brewer explained that mistakes hurt the Rangers as the game went on.

“We came out strong and had many scoring chances,” Brewer said. “Then all of the sudden we started playing sloppy, missing passes, and not doing the simple stuff.”

FHC is going to need to limit their mistakes, especially before a big non-conference game against West Ottawa next Friday on the road. This loss hurts the Rangers, as they now move down to 4th in the OK White Conference. A win next Friday would put them right back in the conversation for the conference champion.

Zaschak says his team needs to do the little things in order to win next Friday.

“We just need to be consistent, focus on the details,” Zaschak said. “We go through lapses where we have a couple mental breakdowns, so we just need to be consistent and mentally tough. They are a good, veteran team with some good players and some good seniors that have been around all four years. So we just need to come out and be ready for that.”