First Quarter: Stevenson appeared to be the better team to start the first quarter, winning the first few face-offs and scoring the first point of their season opener. Returning sophomore for the Blanchet Braves Forrest Snorsky proved his potential with a fierce answer back on a clean bottom right corner shot to the visiting teams goalie to tie the game. After Snorsky’s rallying goal for the Braves, junior attackman Finn Jelinek pressed on the weak bottom corner of the Pirates defense like a wound gaining him an impressive hat trick to give his team a 4-1 lead in the first quarter of the game. Visiting California team, Stevenson, had a difficult time finding an answer to the hat trick forcing the ball into tight windows and missing as the first quarter got away from them.
Second Quarter: Stevenson entered the second quarter calmly as they maintained patience and good fundamental play. The Pirates were missing passes and shots left and right but maintained possession and composure. They found a startling play up the middle for a surprising strike underneath Blanchet goalie Jaybry Hupf-Doyle bringing life into their offense. The Braves did not flinch as junior midfielder Jackson Brown ran through multiple Stevenson defenders to deliver a sneak shot underneath the Pirate’s goalie to maintain their 3 point lead. This exchange of points continued to the end of the half with both Stevenson and Blanchet scoring another point each to end the half at 6-3. Blanchet showed some surprising resiliency in this first half as they refused to let any of the visiting teams goals affect their focus. They began this game with a sound plan of staying on assignments and trusting the plays of coach Steve Snorsky. Stevenson was struggling to find the rhythm they needed, as Blanchet’s defense became the star of last nights game.
Third Quarter: The second half was seen by a conservative Stevenson offense and tough defense. The Pirates were motivated to win this game as their defense played aggressively on a strong steal and push to Blanchet’s goal. Doyle-Hupf was having a great night as he was making key saves that discouraged their visitors offensive front. The third quarter was filled with gritty defensive plays knocking players to the ground and aggressive stick checking that would frustrate any offense. Blanchet played a great possession game as they limited the amount of time Stevenson could control the ball. After the Braves ran a handful of skilled circuit passes around the Pirates goalie, midfielder Jack Manca found attackman Forrest Snorsky in the middle of Pirate defenders. Snorsky with a spin and quick shot into the cage left Stevenson battered and flustered as the Blanchet Braves increased their lead with the first score of the second half to 7-3.
Fourth Quarter: Once the fourth quarter arrived, the wind in the Pirate’s sails disappeared as they attempted to force an offensive rhythm that wasn’t there. Blanchet scored another two points within the first two minutes of the fourth quarter as Stevenson began to realize their fate. At this point in the game it was 9-3 and Blanchet put all their energy into their defense as they waited for regulation time to expire. This is when the Braves junior defenseman Nat Lewis began to make game ending plays against the Pirates with tough checks and clean steals while he launched the ball out of their end of the field. The game ended with a valiant effort from the visiting team as they noticeably tried to maintain their patience on offense and create scoring opportunities. Blanchet had the worst offense in their conference last year but showed impressive growth as they stacked six in the box making it incredibly difficult for the Pirates to find any windows to get the ball into the cage. Blanchet wins this non-league match up with a patient offense and a tough defense to start their 2017 season.
Story by Michael Thornbloom