BERKLEY – The Berkley-Ferndale Unified boys hockey team got a big game from Joey Leider and advanced to the finals of the Berkley Invitational Tournament with a 6-2 win over the New Boston Huron Chiefs Friday evening.
Leider scored four goals to pace the Berkley-Ferndale offense while Ian Melrose assisted on three of Leider’s goals as Berkley-Ferndale’s top line proved to be the difference in the game.
“We need that. We need for those guys to lead,” Berkley-Ferndale head coach Jeff Fleming said. “That line played really well.”
The key turning point came late in the second period with Berkley-Ferndale maintaining a slim 3-2 lead. Shane Goldberg hit Joey Leider with a stretch pass on the power play, and Leider got in behind the defense at the blue line then fired a wrister that clipped the crossbar on the way in to complete his hat trick and double Berkley’s lead to 4-2 with 6:40 to play in the period. Just 24 seconds later, Gianni Bonello set up Ian Carne in front and Carne roofed a backhanded shot into the top of the net to make it 5-2.
“It’s a game of momentum -keeping the momentum and then stealing it back when you lose it, and I thought we did a really good job of that,” Fleming said.
The Chiefs would put the pressure on to close the period led by captains Michael Lasky and Jesse McGowan, but Stephen Wroe was able to stymie them, making a fantastic glove save with just under two minutes left in the period to ensure the Chiefs couldn’t carry any momentum into the third period.
“They (the Chiefs) had some kids that could play, and I told our kids that they have some kids that can play and you’ve got to skate,” Fleming said. “Stephen played well. He made some really nice saves. That glove save was huge. Those are momentum turners,” he added.
McGowan led the New Boston Huron attack, scoring both goals for the Chiefs (6-3) who will play in tomorrow’s third place game. “He’s a captain for a reason,” Chiefs head coach Dennis Boomer said. “He’s a horse of a player and a good kid.”
Overall, Boomer was pleased with his team’s performance despite the loss. “I thought we were pretty good today. We come into the host team’s rink and play in front of their crowd, which makes a difference. We have a short bench and I though our kids did pretty well for only having eleven skaters,” Boomer said. “I was very happy with the game, not happy with the outcome but happy with the effort,” he added.
Berkley-Ferndale (9-3) advances to the final where they will meet the winner of Royal Oak Shrine and Bloomfield Hills United. “Overall, I was pleased. We made it to where we wanted to be tomorrow and put ourselves in position to play in the finals of our tournament. That’s a goal of ours, and it’s a team goal,” Fleming said. “So I’m pleased with it.”