By John Bombatch
KETTERING — There’s a scene in the 1977 hockey movie “Slap Shot” where Charleston Chiefs goalie Denis Lemieux is found still flailing his arms and legs at imaginary pucks in the locker room, long after he’d left the ice.
While Beavercreek senior goaltender Brian Daniels might be doing some flailing of his own, after a 5-1 loss to Oxford Talawanda, his play in the net kept the youthful pink-clad Beavercreek Beavers in Sunday’s contest until the final period at the Kettering Rec Center.
Daniels recorded 49 saves!
“We’re lucky we have solid goaltending, because it could be worse a lot at times. Our goalies keep us in the games, but at the same time we’ve gotta help them out and work hard. Today, I don’t feel that we did that,” said Beavers coach Sean Broderick.
Beavercreek wore special pink jerseys for Sunday’s “Pink in the Rink” fundraiser that raised money cancer research.
Talawanda took advantage of two early first-period power play situations to jump out in front 2-0 in the first five minutes of play. But with just over two minutes left in the period, Beavercreek got on the scoreboard when senior center Jonnie Ives took a pass from junior right winger Nick Martin and chipped a shot into the top shelf of the Braves goal, past goalie K.J. Lehman.
Daniels fended off 36 Talawanda shots at the goal through the first two periods of play. Despite 16 such Braves tries in the second period, Talawanda was unable to extend its 2-1 lead.
The floodgates opened in the third period, however, as Talawanda’s Kyle Tafelski (twice) and Matt Deaton added goals for the final 5-1 score. Braves coach Jared Sacre said a lot of his players have grown up with the sport, getting sessions from players and coaches of the NCAA powerhouse Miami University college hockey team, which is practically in their backyard in Oxford. The Braves even use Miami’s Goggin Ice Arena as their home ice.
“That’s kinda where it starts for us. They teach us the fundamentals of skating, and these guys have played together on youth teams all their lives,” Sacre said. “We just need to jump on the momentum when we have it, and I don’t know if we always do that. Our guys just need to believe in themselves a bit more, but they played well tonight.”
Tafelski recorded three goals, Josh Shrader and Deaton had one each. Luke Croucher and Fisher Tobias each had a pair of assists, Seth Poirier had another, and Alex Holt had one for Talawanda (7-15-3, 5-3-1 Southwest Ohio High School Hockey League, Red Division).
“Their goaltender is really great,” Sacre said. “Our stats show that we had 54 shots on him today. That’s a lot of shots! That kid’s going to be tired tomorrow. Sean has some good skaters. No. 19 (Ives) and no. 8 (Jack Belmonte) are both very good players. This is probably the best Beavercreek team I’ve seen in the last few years.”
Beavercreek (4-20-5, 1-9-3 in the SWOSHL Red Division) won the SWOSHL Gold division last season and moved up to the Red division this time around. They recently placed third at the Ehrnfelt Memorial hockey tournament in Strongsville. After losing earlier in the tourney to Pepper Pike Orange, the Beavers defeated the Lions 4-3 in double overtime to claim the third-place trophy.
The Beavers head south to Louisville, Ky. for their next game, a 3:45 p.m. Jan. 30 tilt with Louisville Trinity at the Iceland Sports complex.
John Bombatch can be reached at (937) 657-4842.