Tuesday, March 21, 2023

The fact that SAR won the Boys Middle School Championship at Frisch last Monday was no surprise. However the manner in which they went about doing it was a first for the 13-0, undefeated Sting. SAR went 10 regular season games and two playoff contests entering the championship game without ever trailing and only once allowed three goals in a game. This time, down 2-0 to the Noam Knights late in the second period, the Sting had to claw their way back into the game with four third-period goals to win 5-3.

The two schools met once during the regular season. The Sting and the Knights battled fiercely, with the game ending in a SAR 1-0 win. Eighth-grade captain, Gordie Kolb scored the game’s lone tally, and his younger brother Henri captured the shutout.

With memories of the regular-season tight defensive game in mind, both teams played similarly in the first period of the championship game—with extreme caution and with crisp goaltending. The first twelve minutes would eventually end without any goals.

However, Noam 8th-grader Charlie Bendheim would score the game’s first goal, giving the Knights a 1-0 lead after depositing a rebound just 1:04 into the second period. Only a minute and twenty-five seconds later, the Knights took a 2-0 lead when Ari Solomon scored on a wraparound goal. The score would stay that way until Shua Freidman would get the Sting on the board with only 1:51 remaining in the second, as he found a loose ball off a Jonathan Haims face-off win and rifled a turning-wrister past Noam goalie Yoni Kirsch.

Now, a one-goal game entering the third period, the atmosphere was tense with both schools receiving enormous support from family, friends, and classmates packed in the Frisch gym. The Sting wouldn’t wait long to score the equalizer, however, as Gordie Kolb, won a battle in the right corner and sent the ball to the slot where Freidman deflected it over to Yoni Sturm, who fired it home only 31 seconds into the third period to tie the score at two apiece.

With momentum now in SAR’s corner, Noam wouldn’t quit as Romi Harcsztark scored on a 20-foot wrist-shot labeled for the upper corner with only 6:54 remaining in the game to give the Knights a 3-2 lead. The Sting didn’t panic however, and tied the game up just 33 seconds later as Akiva Hain sent a pass to the slot to Kolb, who spun away from a defender and scored just inside the right post. Then, after both Yoni Kirsch and Henri Kolb made key saves for both teams to keep the game knotted at three, Gordie Kolb scored his second of the game on a rising wrist shot from mid-court with 4:38 remaining. In an attempt to tie the game up late, Noam pulled Kirsch for an extra forward with just over one minute remaining, but seconds later Jason Burian dumped the ball the length of the court and Gordie Kolb beat the Noam defensemen to the ball and neatly scored his third goal of the game with only 49 seconds remaining, completing his natural hat trick.

For SAR, this marks the first championship the school has won since their first and only other championship in 2006-2007.

By David Kolb

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