BERKLEY — Saxophonist Nolan Young had a gig down in Detroit’s Eastern Market late Friday night, but the senior defenseman for Berkley-Ferndale Unified’s hockey team had another job to do first.
Young – both bruising and explosive on the ice - and senior forward Joey Leider tallied a pair of assists each and four different players scored as Berkley-Ferndale Unified defeated visiting Troy 4-1 in an OAA White division tilt on Friday.
“My favorite two-way player is Shea Webber from Nashville,” Young said Friday as he hurried through a shower and interview before heading down to play at a jazz club with the Greg Williams Band. “That’s how I want to play like.”
Three first period power play goals and Stephen Wroe’s 22 saves helped give Berkley-Ferndale, its fourth straight victory and second this year over Troy.
“Coming into the season people didn’t think we could do it again,” said Leider of defending the OAA White Division crown they earned last year. “Eyes are on us. (But) we’re going to prove people wrong.”
Leider earned the “C” on his sweater this year, but it took a man to realize he could become a leader, while becoming a better hockey player and student.
“I’ve never been a captain,” Leider said. “Now the team comes to me if they have any questions. I feel like I’ve matured more this year than I have in the previous three years.
“At this point, we’re getting everyone’s “A” game,” he said.
With Friday’s victory, Berkley-Ferndale Unified improved to 11-3 overall and 6-1 in the OAA White Division.
“We capitalized on their mistakes,” Berkley-Ferndale Unified coach Jeff Fleming said Friday. “It’s a league game. It’s a win. We did what we had to do.”
Fleming praised all three of his lines. “Both lines had all four goals and our third line did what they needed to do,” he said.
Ian Melrose, a slick-skating freshman who is not afraid to mix it up, put Berkley-Ferndale Unified on top 4-0 just 34 seconds into the second period.
“Leider, Melrose, (Max) Dooley have good speed and move the puck,” Fleming said. “They all play unselfish. And (Gianni) Bonello, (Zack) Segall and Curtis Carne (2 assists on Friday) are playing good.”
Dooley scored off a rebound with 3:12 left in the first period to give Berkley-Ferndale a 3-0 bulge. Robby Flannery, a sophomore defenseman, took a hard slap shot that Troy goalkeeper Michael Fisher kicked aside. But Dooley muscled his way to the net and the puck dropped on his stick.
With Troy shorthanded, Segall demonstrated a perfect wrist shot that beat Fisher’s left glove side to the upper corner of the net giving Berkley-Ferndale Unified a 2-0 lead.
Sophomore Bonello’s power play goal at 11:04 of the first period put Berkley-Ferndale Unified on the board, 1-0. In a penalty not seen often, two Troy players were awarded separate minor penalties on the same play, including an unsportsmanlike conduct call.
With Melrose in the box for slashing, Berkley-Ferndale Unified was able to kill off the penalty. But six seconds later, Troy junior Nik Bester busted up the shutout with 9:51 left when he beat Wroe.
“You can’t give a good team that many power play chances,” Troy coach Tim Zimmerman said Friday. “We have to play them 5-on-5, and we didn’t do that.”
Zimmerman was optimistic his team will get back to its winning ways. He said Friday’s second and third period gave him reason to belief in his team for the last half of the season.
“I think we can build on the last two periods we played,” he said. “I was happy to see a couple players step up. Beau Berger and Andrew Peters played well.”
Also playing well for Berkley-Ferndale was Wroe, the junior goalie who faced 22 shots, while defensemen Keith Waldrup and Shane Goldberg played spectacular on the blue line.
“Our big goal is to repeat,” said Young. “We know today we were kind of shaky. We dominated the first period, but we need to play a complete game. We’ve got a good team and good coaching. We’re really outskating teams. That’s been the key to our success.”