Div. II Hockey Championship: Bedford makes it perfect for third straight
MANCHESTER – For the Bedford Bulldogs, the third time was perfection.
Top-ranked Bedford completed an undefeated season at 21-0-0 with a 3-1 win over No. 3 Bow in the NHIAA Division II boys' ice hockey state championship at Verizon Wireless Arena Saturday. The win gave Bedford its third consecutive state title.
"I'm relieved. It's a great feeling. I'm proud of the kids. It's something that we wanted to do all season long," said Bedford head coach Marty Myers. "It was tough because even though we were undefeated, we knew that everyone wanted to beat the undefeated team. That added internal pressure to us that the kids handled and managed well."
Bow pulled junior goalie Robert Margeson for an extra attacker in the final minute-plus and generated some chances in the Bedford end, logging four of its five third period shots on goal in a 15-second scramble around the net.
But Bulldogs senior goalie Stevan Tempesta (10 saves in the game) managed to block all of them to hold the lead and eventually close out the win.
"We knew that Bow was going to change it and be more aggressive and throw everything at us," Myers said. "We talked about it and I give Bow credit, they fought to the end and we just played disciplined."
Bow managed just 11 shots in the game to Bedford's 22, but in addition to the final flurry late, many of those 11 shots were quality chances that just couldn't find the inside of the net.
"They're a good team, but we missed opportunities," said Bow head coach Tim Walsh. "The turnovers were what killed us tonight. They do a great job of transition hockey, causing turnovers and capitalizing on it. We didn't, they did."
All of the scoring came in the second period and Bow led 1-0 on a goal at 1:23. Falcons freshman Christopher Mead carried the puck out of his own end up the right side, snapping off a wrist shot from the right circle to beat Tempesta low for the 1-0 lead.
"When they scored, (our) heads didn't go down. (Our kids) played their game," Myers said. "I said it was ok, we've been down before. I think that's where some of our experience comes in. We talked about managing the game and (said) don't panic. If we go down one, if we're playing well, and I thought we were playing well even though we weren't winning the game, I thought things would take care of themselves."
Bedford tied the game with a power-play goal at 3:51 of the second. The Bulldogs moved the puck around the zone, finishing with a slap shot from the right point from senior Harrison Voloshin that was tipped past the glove of Margeson by senior Jeremy Myers.
The Bulldogs took a 2-1 lead at 11:46 of the second. Senior Nate Boyd notched the goal, getting the puck on the right side and performing a spin move to send a backhander on net from the goal line that found its way inside the far-post.
"He's a very skilled kid," Myers said of Boyd. "Putting it on net, I'm not saying that was intentionally where he was trying to put it, but it happened to go in and it came at a great time in the game."
Bedford struck again just 48 seconds later on another Myers goal. Right off the faceoff from the previous goal, the Bulldogs applied pressure. Senior Ben Desrosiers sent the puck toward the net but it hit traffic in front and came to Myers on the right side for a quick backhander into the net to make it 3-1 Bedford.
It was Myers second goal of the game and meant that all three goals came from seniors. Bedford had 13 seniors on the roster that closed out their careers with a third state title.
"Having it happen to a senior, it makes it special for them," Marty Myers said. "And the kids really don't care who scores, but the senior class is very tight."
Next season Myers will not only have to replace all of that senior experience, but the Bulldogs will move up to Division I. For now, he'll enjoy another state championship.
"I never thought that we would go undefeated, but the kids, they always found a way to win," Myers said. "I think that's the uniqueness of this team other than any other team I coached is that that they always had the will to win and do whatever it takes to win."