Normally, an ice hockey team dresses 20 players consisting of 12 forwards, 6 defensemen and 2 goalies. However,on their most recent roadtrip, BA only had available 10 forwards, 5 defensemen and 2 goalies. The two game series against the Springfield would prove a most difficult test. Springfield was also looking to pay Bridgton back for a 6-1 defeat in Lake Placid, NY.
The Pics started the first period with an aggressive play, which led to Bridgton to turn to puck over repeatedly. The Pics put 18 shots on goalie Mike Pearless (Framingham, MA)in the first period alone. The high quality shot selection by the Pics, produced 3 goals and numerous scoring opportunities. By asserting their physical presence, the Pics dominated along the boards and in front of the Bridgton goal. The lone bright spot in the first period was a picture perfect shot from Matt Delgiudice (Oakland, ME/Messalonskee HS) to the upper corner of the net. Bridgton was lucky to be heading in to the 1st intermission only down 3-1.
The second period saw the Wolverines pick up all aspects of their game. The intensity levels seemed to help them control the puck and create more offensive pressure. BA fired 17 shots on goal this period and was rewarded with two goals. Rich Asselin (Westfield, MA), banged in a rebound on the power play with the assists going to Sean Travis (Scituate, MA) and Delgiudice. One minute after the BA goal, Springfield answered right back to make it a 2 goal game. Not to be outworked in period two, Travis cut the deficit to one with a goal of his own to make it 4-3 after two.
The third period saw the high tempo play continue. Three minutes into the third, Tom Paine (Superior, WI/Duluth Marshall HS) tied the game with assists going to Eric Seigel (Wilmington, MA) and Eric Clemmenson (Farmington, CT/Tabor Academy). Bridgton was really firing on all cylinders. As a team, they moved the puck well and played great positional and physical hockey.
At this point, the game changed drastically. Unknown to everyone, including players, coaches and fans, the referees called 13 penalties in period 3. The previous two periods, the referee allowed the players to play, except for some obvious infractions. BA finished with an uncharacteristic 12 total penalties and the Pics finished with 9. Additionally, Delgiudice scored a game tying goal which was disallowed by the officials after a major penalty was called by a linesman.
Overall, a very strange period and ultimately, BA couldn't finish off the Pics when they had their chances. BA continued to fight through the adversity. With 5 minutes left in the game, Ben Pearl (Essex, VT) scored to bring BA back to within one, but it was as close as BA would get. Besides suffering a 6-5 loss, BA also lost goalie Mike Pearless and defenseman Chris Smith (Salem, MA) to injuries in the third period.
"I was very proud of out team tonight. Having only 17 players available for this game was a tough challenge. They battled through a lot and still managed to play a great game of hockey" said Head Coach Jamie Printz.