The Bridgton Academy Junior A hockey team had a chance to make even more history this past weekend as they competed in the North American Hockey Association National Championship Tournament. Needing a strong effort for two games of the tournament to qualify for the championship, they Wolverines did not disappoint as they brought home National Championship for BA.
While they ultimately won the tournament, they did not make it easy on themselves. The tournament started out with a loss to Rice AAA, a talented Junior program from Vermont, who Bridgton faced multiple times in the regular season. Rice made the path even harder for BA as they beat the Wolverines 3-2. Ryan Kulik (Pembroke, MA) and Brad McGovern (Haverhill, MA) netted the pair of goals for BA in game one. In Brad Cray’s (Raleigh, NC) first start of the tournament he played very well in net stopping 22 of the 25 shots he saw.
Starting off with a loss put Bridgton into a unique position. They would need St. Foye, as the underdog, to beat Rice in the morning. Much to Bridgton’s surprise, St. Foye was able to overtake Rice in a big upset win. That put Bridgton in an even more unique situation as they would need to beat St. Foye and score more than four goals while not giving up more than two in order to advance to the championship game. The Wolverines emerged with a 6-2 win to put them in a place to play for the Championship. The offensive attack was lead by Kulik who tallied three goals and one assist. In his second game in net Cray played a solid game stopping 31 of 33 shots he faced.
In the Championship game Bridgton faced off against The Cape Cod Cubs. While the Cubs were the winner of the IJHL banquet Bridgton came out on top with a 3-2 win. Kulik tallied his fifth goal of the tournament to lead off Bridgton’s scoring. Ryan Dooley (Topsfield, MA) and Dan Concannon (Everett, MA) also tallied goals in the final game of the season. Cray played his final game in net for the Wolverines as solid as ever stopping 22 of 24 shots and securing the NAHA national championship.
For more information on the tournament click this link to check out the International Junior Hockey Leagues official website.
Photo Credit to Donna Husic.