By Ryan Kaczmarski
Bay beat Lakewood 3-2 to open the Rocket Invitational hockey tournament at Winterhurst Ice Rink on Friday night.
“It was a great team effort,” said Rockets head coach Rick Kirk. “They didn’t give up. They worked incredibly hard and really played ‘their’ game.”
The Rockets came out strong, controlling the pace throughout the entire first period. Bay started off the scoring with an unassisted goal by junior forward Jake Kirk at the 8:38 mark in the first.
Bay went up 2-0 early in the second period on a goal by sophomore defenseman John Swearingen (assisted by Matt Stone and Daniel Linhart).
The Rangers came back with a goal by sophomore defenseman Matt Johnson to get on the board halfway through the second period and put Bay on the defensive.
“We’re a young team,” Kirk said. “We have nine freshmen and six or seven kids that are new to playing hockey. We run a tight, short bench and we got a little out of sorts there (in the second period). We slowed the game down and started making some good passes.
“Really we were just focusing on getting some shots on the net and chasing hard.”
Lakewood tied the game just two and a half minutes into the third period on a goal by senior defenseman Brendan Scheel (assisted by Nate Bonacuse and Victor Dobas).
There were some tense, hard-hitting moments throughout the rest of the game until Bay went up for good with four minutes left in the game on Jake Kirk’s second goal of the night.
Coach Kirk called a time out with 1:19 left in the game to talk to his troops.
“I told them to get a breather – they were pretty winded, ” he said. “I also told them to just control the puck, which is exacly what we did. We kept it (the puck) out of our zone and when we had it, we controlled it, spread it around the ice and protected our goalie.”
Bay senior goaltender Tim Figueira tallied 23 saves in the victory, while Lakewood’s senior netminder Alex Hudock saved 14.