BERKLEY – The host Berkley-Ferndale Unified Bears skated to a 6-1 win over the Bloomfield Hills United Chargers in OAA White boys hockey action on Friday night.
The game was a key early season match up as the defending champion Bears faced off against the Chargers who had started unbeaten in their first four league games.
The Bears broke the game open in the second period. Leading 1-0 after one period on a goal by Gianni Bonello, the Bears doubled their lead when freshman Ian Melrose drove the net and Joey Leider found him with a pass out of the corner. Melrose buried it inside the far post to make it 2-0 with 11:45 left in the second period. Berkley-Ferndale then added a pair of special teams tallies just past the midway part of the period with Zack Segall picking up both. The first came on the power play when he got open on the backside of the play and banged home a rebound. Just under two minutes later, Segall added a shorthanded tally – a blistering one timer set up by a backhanded pass from Curtis Carne.
“It’s a backbreaker,” Berkley-Ferndale head coach Jeff Fleming said. “It’s takes momentum, and it’s a game of momentum. So you try to steal the momentum when they have it and keep the momentum when you have it.”
Overall, the Bears got four goals from their top line. In addition to Segall’s big night, Berkley-Ferndale also got a goal and two assists from Bonello, and two assists from Alex Rawlik. Max Dooley also scored for the Bears. At the other end of the rink, Stephen Wroe had a solid night in net, making 18 saves for the Bears to pick up the win.
“We moved the puck well. We came out with some good energy. We supported the puck. We really were unselfish,” Fleming said. “A lot of times when you get a lead like that, you start playing selfish, and they stuck to the game plan, which was good,” he added.
Fleming was also pleased with the way his team is coming together early in the season. “All of our new guys are really fitting in nice,” he said.
On the other bench, Bloomfield United head coach Bruce McAlister was disappointed with his team’s performance. ”We didn’t compete,” he said. “When you don’t compete against a team that is well coached and skating the puck well, things like this can happen. We’ll learn from it.” He did add that, “It was an off night totally for us. We’ll recover. We’ll come back. We have good leadership, and we’ll work real hard.”
One thing that did please him was that his team fought back a bit in the third period. “We didn’t lay down. We could have laid down. Even though 6-1 is a score you don’t like to post, there were some points when they were coming back. This team has heart.”
Kevin Barnett scored the lone goal for Bloomfield United in the third period.
With the win, Berkley-Ferndale Unified improves to 4-2 overall and 2-1 in OAA White. Next up for the Bears is a Wednesday road game against Troy in another OAA White game. Bloomfield United falls to 3-2-2 overall and 2-1-2 in league play as they prepare to host West Bloomfield on Thursday, also in OAA White play.