Indians co-op hockey team wins title, as 'BCR' fights to finish
By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Vernon/Bolton/Coventry/Manchester - posted Mon., Mar. 18, 2013
Those in attendance at the CIAC Division III hockey finals on March 16 certainly got their money’s worth and saw a great hockey game. The defensive battle resulted in the Newington/Berlin/Manchester Indians edging the Bolton/Coventry/Rockville team, known as ‘BCR,’ by a score of 1-0.
While scoreless, the first period was full of action. BCR looked sharp, firing several shots at the goal, but just barely missing each time. While the official shots on net were 6-6, BCR’s attack looked more potent.
“I thought that in the first period, we could have walked away with it being 4-0 us,” said BCR coach Christian Stevenson. “We didn’t finish on some chances that we had. It wasn’t for lack of effort.”
The only penalty came just as time expired, and BCR defended it well to start the second. Two more BCR penalties in the second period may have been what lead to their demise.
“We spent quite a bit of time in the penalty box, which wears out your penalty killers,” Stevenson said. “It wears down your speed, and that’s an advantage of ours. You’re using some of your best guys to kill penalties, and they get tired.”
With 2:34 to go in the period, the Indians’ Marco DiPaola put one past BCR goalie Cameron Earle on the goalie’s left side.
“When you put a puck past Cam Earle, you’d better keep it,” Stevenson said. “It doesn’t happen often. He didn’t talk about it. Like a closer in baseball, if you give up that home run, you’ve got to come out the next day.”
Stevenson said Earle and NBM goalie Drew O’Leary, who are both seniors, were the best two goalies in the three state championship games. “The first two [regular season] games, we took 81 shots against them. We scored one goal,” he said.
Newington/Berlin/Manchester coach David Harackiewicz said his team’s game plan was to take away BCR’s senior scoring leader J.R. Piretti, as well as BCR’s shots from the crease – both of which they did effectively.
“Once we did that, I think we made it very tough for them to score,” he said, “especially after we got our goal. That energized our bench a little bit. Our players felt that when we’ve scored the first goal of the game, we’ve been pretty much unbeatable this year.”
Stevenson said his team, which finished 20-2-2, has a lot to be proud of. “Every game like this has a winner and a loser,” he said. “Whether you win or lose, you can’t hang your head down.”
Some of the opposing players had been teammates as early as last year. The co-op was formerly between Rockville and Manchester high schools (and unofficially known as “Man-ville”). Realigning in the last off season, Rockville joined with Bolton, Coventry and Lyman, and Manchester players joined with Newington-Berlin, which won the state title in 2012.
“Manchester was a late addition,” Harackiewicz said. “Two of them were defensemen, and they added to our depth defensively. They were an important piece to what we were trying to accomplish, but it was difficult for them, because they were a part of this team [with Rockville] last year. Once we got them on the team, it was a natural transition. They were very happy to have a place to play. That’s what co-ops are about.”