The TABC Storm varsity hockey team fought an intense battle at the Weather Center against the HAFTR Flames on Monday night to determine who will head to Lawrence Middle School for the MYHSHL championship game. The Storm defeated the Rambam Ravens 3-1 in the quarter finals, while the Flames were coming off an impressive 8-2 win over a very talented Frisch Cougar team.
The Flames got on the board first with a blast from the point by Jordan Gellman to take a 1-0 lead. Shortly thereafter, TABC stormed back with a beautiful shot by Benjy Shulman, beating the Flames goalie to tie up the score. They took the lead less than two minutes later with a goal by Shmuel Knoller on a great pass from Gabi Stone taking a 3-1 lead with less than 1 minute left in the first period.
The Storm came out in the second period, receiving excellent goaltending from Yosef Robin. It paid off with a goal by Gabi Stone midway through the second period. With the second period ending 4-1, the Storm knew the game was far from over. The Storm continued to put pressure on the Flames, scoring late in the third period on a goal by Shmuel Knoller, keeping the Flames in check, minimizing chances when Robin stopped every shot he faced in the second and third period. In the end of a well played game, the Storm came away with a 5-1 victory, sending them back to the Varsity championship for the first time since the 2009-2010 season.
They will face MTA, who won Tuesday night’s playoffs against DRS. Despite playing in different conferences, the two teams are no strangers to each other – this was their 4th matchup in the last 3 years – a stretch that includes this year’s second semifinal (DRS won last year’s 3-1) and the Championship game in 2011 (a 2-0 MTA triumph).
After MTA came out of the gate strong and controlled most of the first period, featuring multiple scoring chances, they cashed in on a goal by Junior Akiva Gottlieb (Teaneck, NJ) at the 10:30 mark to go ahead 1-0. The teams went back to their locker rooms after two periods with MTA holding onto a 1-0 lead. The final 12 minutes promised to be of the nail-biting, heart-racing fashion that MTA-DRS games have become known for. DRS quickly tied the game at 1.
At least one overtime session appeared inevitable. But then DRS scored to take a 2-1 lead with 3:31 remaining. MTA though, had other ideas. With a relentless attack from their second line, Dovid Ort (Bergenfield, NJ) scored the team’s biggest goal of the season, converting on a rebound in front with 1:45 remaining in regulation to tie the game. They weren’t done though. On a deep zone face-off with just 24 seconds on the clock, Captain Menachem Mermelstein (New York, NY) won the draw back to the point for a blistering snap shot from Moshe Lifschitz (Teaneck, NJ) to put MTA ahead 3-2 and complete the epic comeback.
So its MTA vs. TABC this Sunday, March 10 at 3:45 pm at Lawrence Middle School (195 Broadway - Lawrence, NY 11559).