Brennan takes out Amherst for WECSSAA hockey championship

By Joel Charron

The General Amherst boy’s hockey team stood on their blueline, stone faced as they watched the Brennan Cardinals celebrating on their home ice.

On Monday afternoon, the Bulldogs lost the decisive Game Three to the Cardinals, 4-1 as Brennan captured the WECSSAA boy’s hockey championship at the United Communities Credit Union Complex.

“I’m not going to lie, I am disappointed, but not at the boys, I’m disappointed at the result,” said head coach Pat Garrett. “It seemed like every single bounce went Brennan’s way.”

All signs pointed to a rebuilding year for the Bulldogs this season, however, Amherst found themselves at the top of the standing at the end of the regular season and a legitimate chance to three-peat as WECSSAA champs.

However, Brennan had something to say about that.

After being blown out in Game One, the Cardinals evened the series with a 6-3 Game Two win.

Amherst's Zoran Popel gets stuffed by Brennan goalie James Caron on a breakaway attempted in the first period.

In the opening minutes of Game Three, Brennan wanted to show Amherst’s that if the Bulldogs wanted their third straight championship they would have to battle for it.

Amherst goalie Nick Keeler stood on his head in the first period, making several key saves. The game was scoreless after the first period.

“Keeler played outstanding,” said Amherst captain Zoran Popel. “If we didn’t have Keeler, we would have got smoked.”

Brennan was the first to find the back of the net, when Zack Ross scored on the powerplay.

Just 40 seconds later Brennan’s Travis Roath cashed in on a penalty shot, putting the Cardinals up 2-0.

Brennan would make it 3-0 after Pat Lesperance scored with 9.6 seconds left in the second period.

Amherst’s chances of a comeback began to dim further, when Chris Foster knocked in Brennan’s fourth goal with 10 minutes left in the game.

Amherst’s Michael Popel would break Brennan’s bid for the shut out with four minutes left in the third period.

“I thought we played well. We just didn’t get the bounces we wanted,” said Keeler. “When they got that goal late in the second period, it really killed us.”

“It’s a game, it’s not the end of the world,” said Popel. “I would have liked to win, seeing that this was my last high school hockey game, but what can you do.”

Although Amherst will be losing some players next year, such as, Keeler, Zoran Popel, Frank Rosati, Matt Emery, Jeremy Aguilar and Mike MacPhee, Garrett said the team has a bright future.

“We have some really good young players coming up,” he said.
“We will have a good core coming back. I’m excited for next year.”

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