Berkley’s longshot hopes for a share of the OAA Red Division boys hockey title was put on ice Monday evening.
Playing against state-ranked Rochester United in a must-win game, the Bears fell flat. The United squad wrapped up the Red Division crown with a convincing 8-0 victory at the Onyx Ice Arena.
The Rochester squad, consisting of players from both Adams and Rochester high schools, hiked its OAA Red Division mark to 11-0 with one game remaining. It is RU’s third-straight Red Division title.
“It’s one of our goals every year to win the league,” said Rochester United head coach Craig Staskowski. “So we accomplished goal one. Now we can set our sights on a couple of other (goals).”
Berkley needed to defeat Rochester United on Monday, win its final game of the season (Feb. 28 against Farmington at the Berkley Ice Arena) and hope that Rochester United stumbled in its final Red Division game. It didn’t happen as Berkley fell to 8-3 in the OAA Red.
Rochester United defeated Berkley in their first meeting of the season, 3-2. The Bears simply did not have it in their second game on Monday as United scored its eighth goal with less than five minutes left in regulation to register the mercy-rule win.
“I was absolutely surprised (by the lopsided score),” said Staskowski. “I didn’t even know the game was over. I thought it was the sixth or seventh goal until my coaches told me.
“It was a close game for a while. I thought the difference was number 24 (RU forward Marshall Bowery who scored four goals). He’s an amazing hockey player. He’s playing at a whole different level and he’s playing sick right now. I can’t imagine what he’s going to be like when he’s one-hundred percent again.
“He’s an incredible hockey player and he’s been like that for four years,” he said. “He’s just getting better and better. It’s scary.”
Berkley trailed 1-0 after the first period and the United squad tallied two goals in a 20-second span of the second period to take a 3-0 lead heading into the final 17 minutes. RU took it to another gear in that final period, netting five goals in eight minutes to remain perfect in the OAA Red.
Bowery, who leads the Division with 79 points, accounted for half of his team’s eight goals. The other RU scores were by Connon McLocklin, Michael Rittner (two) and Alex Shell.
Ethan Fuller, Evan Cronzier, Drew Dishinger, Matt Potoniec, Cole Glaspie and Will Neidhart each had one assist.
Ian Melrose and Robby Flannery had good chances for Berkley, but were thwarted by RU goalie Trevor Szafran .
Berkley (12-8-0 overall) goalie Michael Schwanke made 20 saves. Szafran picked up the win for Rochester United (19-4-1).