BERKLEY – The Berkley-Ferndale Unified boys hockey team claimed their second straight OAA White title with a 6-0 victory over the visiting West Bloomfield Lakers on Saturday night.
“Everyone’s goal before the season was to win the league again, and to do it by such a large margin against a team we lost to first game is just huge,” Berkley-Ferndale captain Joey Leider said.
“I’m really proud of our players, my coaching staff, and our fans. Our fans are just absolutely dynamite,” Berkley-Ferndale head coach Jeff Fleming said.
It was a familiar script on the score sheet as Berkley-Ferndale’s top line of Leider, Ian Melrose, and Max Dooley accounted for all six goals, with Melrose getting four. It was the captain, Leider, who opened the scoring early, giving Berkley-Ferndale the lead just over three minutes into the game when Melrose found him in the low slot with a backhanded pass from the left side of the goal and Leider’s quick shot hit the twine just inside the “That whole line plays really well together,” Fleming said. Fleming was also quick to spread the credit around for the win. “Our third line played their best game of the season. To tell you the truth it was truly a team effort all the way through. I don’t think we made many mistakes and that’s something to build on.”
Late in the period, the line exploded for three more goals in a span of 2:32 with Dooley scoring once and Melrose twice to blow the game open at 4-0 as Berkley-Ferndale came out hot and stayed that way the entire first period, feeding off a noisy home crowd and out shooting West Bloomfield 14-2 to dominate the period.
“They came out on fire. They came out really focused, and they were just really, really up for the game,” Fleming said. “Our fans are unbelievable. It’s intimidating to play in front of them. They keep our kids in the game,” Fleming added.
The Lakers wouldn’t go without a fight. West Bloomfield settled down after the intermission, regrouping in the second and third periods, holding a 20-18 edge in shots over the final two periods. But despite playing two strong periods, they couldn’t claw their way back into the game on the scoreboard as Berkley-Ferndale goaltender Stephen Wroe had all the answers to post his first shut out of the season.
“They (West Bloomfield) did come back and play a tough second period, and the third period they had their opportunities too, so I take my hats off to them, but I think our kids just really wanted this,” Fleming said.
With the win, Berkley-Ferndale improves to 15-3 overall and 9-1 in OAA White. West Bloomfield maintains sole possession of second place in OAA White with a 5-3-1 league record.