Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Lawrence - On Sunday March 10, 2013, the TABC Storm entered the Lawrence Middle School to take on the MTA Lions in a Western Conference showdown for the MYHSHL Varsity championship.  The Lions handed the Storm their only 2 losses of the regular season, a 2-0 defeat at the Weather Center and a 3-2 last second heartbreak in the Lion’s Den.  The Storm entered the championship game on a roll and playing at an extremely high level, having dismantled a very talented HAFTR Flames team 5-1 in the semi-finals less than a week earlier, while the Lions earned the right to play for the championship in comeback fashion, beating the DRS Wildcats 3-2 after being down 2-1 with 2 minutes left in the third period.  The stage was set for an epic battle featuring the top two teams of the Western Conference.
Having witnessed the Junior Varsity team take home the championship earlier in the afternoon, the Storm looked determined to bring home the sweep in the Yeshiva Hockey League.  The play was even through the first three minutes, with each team trading chances and MTA challenging TABC goalie Yosef Robin multiple times. But 3:09 into the first period, the Storm broke through. On a face off deep in the MTA zone, the puck bounced out to Benjy Shulman at the point. Benjy brought the puck down the wing to the far side and fed Aryeh Pechet in front who one timed the puck home to give the Storm a 1-0 lead. The Storm continued to bring pressure and 6:43 into the first period, MTA took a penalty giving TABC the first power play of the game. TABC would not squander the opportunity. On a play that we have seen many times this season, Shmuel Knoller won the faceoff deep in the MTA zone to Gabi Stone who passed it to Oren Strich at the point. After gaining possession of the puck, Oren sent a backhand pass to Benjy on the far wing who one-timed a rocket past the MTA goalie 7:51 into the period to give the Storm a 2-0 lead. After a break between the first and second period, the Storm came out with even more intensity, continuing to put offensive pressure on MTA. Their hard work paid off just 1:45 into the second period. Oren Strich cut in from the point at the perfect time and put the rebound off of an Aryeh Pechet shot into the back of the net to give the storm a commanding 3-0 lead. Through hard work and stifling defensive play, including a beautiful poke check by Ariel Hochman, that lead would hold up through the remainder of the second period. 

Back in the locker room, the Storm recognized what MTA was able to accomplish in the Greenhouse at DRS and knew they would have to give a max effort for the remaining 12 minutes to hold off an MTA comeback. After an even first few minutes of the period, the puck bounced to Etan Rosenfeld of MTA at the point, who snapped a quick hard shot that reached the back of the net 3:32 into the third period to cut the TABC lead to 3-1. However, a team’s true quality is defined by its ability to respond to challenges...and only 22 seconds later, the Storm regained a 3 goal lead on a goal by Shmuel Knoller, who put a Gabi Stone rebound into the back of the net. The offense continued to put offensive pressure on MTA, while Yosef Robin and the defense were able to withstand constant pressure from MTA, bringing the Varsity championship back to TABC for the first time since 2008.

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