Thursday, March 3, 2011

Boys Hockey Tournament Play

The Red Devils are on to the next one

By Jaime Gweshe

During the playoffs in order to win, a team must show a high level of intensity, determination, grit, skill, and raw natural talent in order to move forwards in the competition. The boys of the Burlington Red Devils hockey team showed just that Wednesday night in a 3-1 victory over Andover.

“We came out hard,” said Chris Irwin, “the first five or six minuets we were all over them and I think that just set the momentum for the game for us. We knew that we could play these guys and we just had to do it.”

Burlington dominated Andover early in the first period by keeping the puck in the attacking zone and successfully battling for the puck in the neutral zone. With a strong blue line, the Devil’s were firing on all cylinders. Burlington’s Brett Rompkey lit the lamp for the first goal of the game sliding the puck low stick side past Andover’s Justin Berthiaume for the lead.

Goaltender Derek DeCastro was also playing at his best. DeCastro had three huge saves for Burlington with five minuets remaining in the period. This included a rebound attempt he saved by kicking the puck towards the neutral zone with his left skate. But his best save of the night came with 10 seconds left in the opening period.

Brian Hood scored Burlington’s second goal of the night to give Burlington the 2-0 lead in the opening minuets of the second period. This was the second goal for the third line and it was the second assist of the night for sophomore Joe Berardi.

“We started our third line today and I think they played their hearts out,” said senior Kyle Crowley, “They set the tone right away and everybody followed.”

Burlington had a tough time keeping out of the penalty box in the second period, spending a total of 4:22 on the penalty kill. During their last penalty kill of the period, Andover finally capitalized on one of the man advantage. Jimmy Burns tipped in a soft shot that managed to trickle past DeCastro to give Andover what would be it’s only goal of the night.

A face-off win in Burlington’s defensive zone in the third period helped the Devils get back into the swing of things. Trevor Cimino led an up ice rush right off of the face off win. Kyle Crowley got the pass from Cimino in the attacking zone and put the puck in back of the net to give Burlington what would be the last goal of the night, securing a 3-1 victory.

“It was great vision on Cimino’s part,” said Crowley, “the average high school hockey player doesn’t make those kinds of plays, he chipped that puck past the defensemen and I was just thinking five hole all the way and I just threw the puck on net and when you throw the puck on net good things happen.”

Looking forward to Saturday’s game against St. Mary’s Burlington knows that they need to play at their best in order to get the win, something they are perfectly capable of doing with a strong offensive, defensive and goaltending core.

“We’re ready for them,” said captain Joey Centrella, “and we are going to be firing just because of last year especially. We are up to the challenge.”

For returning players it is a chance to exact some revenge on the team that kicked them out of the playoff sport last year. And the seniors are fighting to continue their high school hockey-playing career.

“I always say to the seniors, ‘how do you want to be remembered as a Burlington High hockey player?” said captain Chris Irwin after the game, “This is it, we have to play like its our last shift, every shift. If you take one shift off they could score and then your season is over. Leave everything on the ice and have no regrets, we just have to play as hard as we can.”

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