The Freshman/Sophomore EDP team landed in Chicago last two nights ago. After they put their bags in the vans we headed to the nearest Marriot. We had dinner and a quick team meeting before bed because we had a 5:30 am wake up call.
During the team meeting Head Coach, Adam Hall stressed the importance of preparing for the game tonight. That means hydrating, staying off your feet and getting mentally ready to play 45 minutes in the morning because although game one of the weekend's tournament was at 7:30 am, game two was a mere seven hours later at 2:30 pm.
We were the first to arrive at the rink yesterday morning, having it being so early we wasted no time in getting the boys changed from their team-mandated dress code clothing into their warm-up gear.
Bloomingdale’s Donovan Vold and Jesuit’s Myles Jackson led the boys in the warm-up routine.
It was 7:15 am before you knew it. The boys were dressed and ready for battle.
Evan Spinella got the start in net for game one and folks, let me tell you something. This young man stood on his head all game. He made save after save after save.
Their first opponent was Chicago Hawk Hockey Club. They came out the gate swinging. It took about 3-4 shifts before EDP got into a rhythm. You can’t blame them there. They haven’t played a competitive game since December. But once things started clicking, it was easy to see the drastic improvements made since the Notre Dame tournament back in December.
Stand out performers in the first period were from newly added Jacob Karch and Joey Cullen. They were playing a full 200ft game and showed a gritty side the team needed. Kirill Shpak and Dante Denney were giving it all they had which led to EDP taking the lead from a Matthew Speciale goal with 2:23 left in the first. Unfortunately, CHHC was able to counter about a minute later and we were tied at 1’s at the end of the first.
Brennan Robbins won the face-off for his team at the start of the 2nd which is always a great way to start a period. The two teams would go back and forth for the next 5-6 minutes until a CHHC player hooked one of ours and we were headed to the first Power Play of the tourney. Coach Hall put his 1st PP unit out there and they delivered. Jacob Karch secured the puck off a face-off, skated to the left of the net. Wrapped around, froze the entire defense and goalie, and waited for Kirill Shpak to get into the perfect position in front of the net. BOOM. 2-1.
I kid you not. Less than 30 seconds after scoring goal number 2, Brennan Robbins found himself on a breakaway on the right side, got about 10 feet from the net and let it rip. He put the puck in the top-shelf right where momma hides the fruit snacks. 3-1 EDP.
CHHC countered right after our third goal. 3-2. A minute or so went by and it happened again. With 7:45 left in the second period the game was tied at 3’s.
Three minutes later. CHHC found themselves on the man advantage and was able to convert. 4-3 CHHC. The Zamboni came out and the boys had 15 minutes to re-group.
Whatever coach Hall said in between worked on the boys because 90 seconds into the 3rd Kirill Shpak roofed a filthy back-handed shot in and the game was tied again.
The rest of the period/game was a beautiful display of hockey. Neither team was able to score but the chances were there for both sides. Our defense was laying out, blocking shots, and sacrificing their bodies for their team. It’s something that you truly love to see.
The game ended 4-4. You always want to win but being able to lose a lead, go down, and come back in the third is great stuff.
Game #2 was to be played at the Derrian Sportsplex against the Rochester IceMen.
After leaving a two-goal lead and a win on the table in the game earlier that day. The boys had a fire in their eyes, and you could tell they were hungry for a win.
Spencer Rose got the start in net and just like his partner in net the game before, he put on a clinic from the opening face-off until the final buzzer.
This was a far more physical and faster game than game one. But the boys adjusted with ease
We wouldn’t see the first, let alone the only goal of the game until there was 6:28 left in the first when a sloppy play in the neutral zone led to a breakaway for the IceMen.
The EDP boys we’re down, but not out. We saw tremendous efforts on both sides of the red-line from the likes of Brennan Robbins, Joey Cullen, and Dante Denney. Dante was an absolute animal for our defense. He never gave up on the puck, finished his checks, and when Coach Hall made on-the-fly adjustments he caught on quickly.
We had chance after chance to put one in the back of the net but were unsuccessful. The IceMen’s goalie played out of his mind. We have good shooters on this team and on some days, this happens. But losing a game 1-0 isn’t the end of the world. We stayed positive, nobody hung their head and the boys are ready to get win #1 tomorrow when they take on the Jr. Falcons!
As always, follow us along our journey this summer as we travel from city to city with our EDP teams on twitter @TBLEDP @TBLHSHL @LightningMade for pictures, videos, and, updates