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November 5, 2012

Bantam “A” District Champions

By Kevin Devlin

South Boston defeats Winthrop and Charlestown to capture the GBL District Two Championship.

On Friday night, October 26, at the Murphy Rink in South Boston, in front of a large and enthusiastic home crowd, the South Boston Youth Hockey League Bantam “A” squad captured the Greater Boston League (GBL) District Two Championship, by defeating arch-rival Charlestown, 4-3.

Earlier in the week (in order to face Charlestown in the finale) a “shorthanded and exhausted” Southie team eked out a hard-fought 3-2 victory in overtime against Winthrop. Led by their goaltender, Gregg Selbert, the “timely scoring of Brendan Sullivan, the playmaking of Billy Czar, and the toughness of Mike Flaherty, Brendan O’Connell and Joe Pollard” Southie bounced back twice to bring home the win. Winthrop drew first blood in the first period to take a 1-0 lead. Southie responded, and attacked Winthrop with “relentless fore-checking by Dave Cunniff, Marco Feeney, and Jake Rooney.” This “demolition line” forced a power play. Then, offensively Southie went to work, as the Sullivan twins, Brendan and Cameron, along with Czar set up Paul Dooley with a nifty pass. Through traffic, Dooley’s crushing slap shot hit nothing but net, as Southie knotted it up, 1-1, entering the second stanza.

Throughout the second period and halfway into the third, the game resembled a “Heavyweight fight” as both teams played hard trying to land knockout punches. With six minutes remaining in the game, Winthrop scored, but Southie didn’t panic. Two minutes later, Brendan Sullivan scored and the game went into OT. Southie continued to attack the Winthrop goalie and Brendan Sullivan scored on a rebound to win the game. This “nerve-wracking” win set up the championship tilt against Charlestown on Friday night.          

Charlestown, took an early 1-0 lead, but Southie responded, scoring three unanswered goals to take a 3-1 advantage. The line of Czar, Sean Doherty, and Thomas Casper using their skill and speed “softened up” their defensive foes, as the Sullivan twins, along with Flaherty and Matt McDonnell fought hard on the offensive end. McDonnell scored on a “pinpoint shot” that the goalie never even saw. Southie scored again as Brendan Sullivan received a perfect pass from Flaherty and scored as he “unleashed an absolute hammer of a shot” that beat the goalie high glove side. Then, Cam Sullivan scored as he collected a rebound. The hard work and determination of Pollard and Cunniff was the key in this scoring effort.

McDonnell, Josh Campbell, Dooley, Dylan Reilly, and Rooney “owned the neutral zone” and frustrated the Charlestown forwards. O’Connell and Feeney also made their presence felt on the ice.

As Southie was ready to prematurely celebrate the victory, Charlestown scored, cutting their deficit to one, 3-2. Twenty seconds later, the Sullivan-Flaherty line responded in grand fashion. Cam Sullivan hit Flaherty with a pass, who subsequently hit Brendan Sullivan, who in turn fired a high shot past the Charlestown goalie, giving Southie a little breathing room. With thirty-four seconds remaining, Charlestown pounced again and cut the deficit once again to one, 4-3. Charlestown subsequently pulled their goalie but Southie held on for the victory.

The final seconds of this district championship tilt was indeed a nail-biting experience for the local team, especially for their dedicated coaches, Brendan Flynn and Tim Murphy.

“The remaining 34 seconds felt like years,” said Coach Murphy. “Charlestown fired numerous shots that were kicked aside… by Gregg Selbert…as Reilly and McDonnell blocked at least three shots with every part of their bodies to preserve the victory.

“The team would like to say ‘thank you’ for all of the support from family, friends, and neighbors,” Murphy concluded. “And, we are looking forward to future games and participating in the state tournament.” 

(Writer’s Note: A hearty thanks to Tim Murphy, Brendan Flynn, and Arthur Fritch for their assistance in the completion of this article)



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