Monday, March 27, 2023

The clocks were moved forward this past weekend, but for the JV hockey championship the clocks were moved way back, as some 450+ spectators were treated to a matchup as old as time: TABC vs. DRS.

The 9-1 DRS Wildcats were playing the role of underdog as they made the trip to Paramus, looking for revenge from their New Year’s Day loss against TABC, their lone blemish on an otherwise sparkling season.

The 10-0 TABC Storm had revenge on their mind as well, as the undefeated 2022 iteration of the Storm fell to DRS 2-1 in the championship on the very same court they stood on this past Sunday.

With so many juicy storylines and past grudges well acknowledged in the week leading up, the Frisch gymnasium was teeming with excitement in the minutes leading to puck drop.

TABC’s offensive prowess was on display early in the contest as the Wildcats fought hard to survive the first few shifts unscathed. TABC was immediately acquainted with DRS sophomore goaltender Josh Papilsky, who was up to the task at the onset. DRS saw an early power play opportunity expire but rode the momentum for some flurries of their own, even striking red hot iron on a blast from the point. Nonetheless, neither goalie faltered and the score remained deadlocked after 12 minutes of play.

The pace, energy and anxiety continued to escalate into the second frame. DRS at last broke the ice 150 seconds in, as Aiden Frenkel jumped on a loose ball in the slot and wasted no time sliding it to the back of the net.

As the game marched onward, both teams avoided the doldrums of the second period, a fate that sometimes finds its way into a championship game between two unfamiliar teams in an unfamiliar venue. Instead, both teams traded haymakers. Stalwart goaltender Shia Forgash was on a mission to keep it a one score game, coming up with several clutch saves.

A major turning point in the afternoon occurred when DRS took a bench minor penalty for too many men on the court. Down a goal and already with one failed power play, TABC was determined to strike and tie up the game.

And strike they did, just 30 seconds into the man advantage. Alternate captain Benzion Keiser fought off two DRS defenders in front of the net while maintaining possession before putting the ball past the outstretched blocker of Papilsky, sending TABC fans cascading down from the bleachers in an uproar.

This set up for a dramatic third period with the teams back at square one. What continued was a masterclass by TABC, limiting DRS to just a few chances. TABC seemed to get hungrier as the period progressed but time expired with the score knotted at one. This game was going to be decided by whichever team could muster up the next goal.

Fortunately, the TABC faithful would not need to wait long. Under three minutes into the extra period, captain Aiden Rauzman found the ball at his stick at half court with plenty of time to look up and pick his corner. Less than a moment later the ball popped out of the net and pandemonium ensued. The sight of players, classmates, parents and coaches jumping, hugging and celebrating a tremendous game and season.

The Most Valuable Player award was given to co-MVPs Forgash and Rauzman.

By Yosef Robin


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