First Quarter: This game had everything from exciting offensive pushes, to impressive defensive stand-offs and hard physical play. This was a true battle as both teams showed heart and determination to win the coveted Island War. The first half started out hot as both teams were going blow for blow scoring six points a piece within the first 16 minutes of regulation time. Bainbridge kicked off the first quarter with a solo goal from sophomore attackman Merritt McMahon (2 goals, 2 assists). Without flinching, the Islanders sophomore attackman Stew Vassau (2 goals) answered back with two goals in 60 seconds. A third goal was scored by Mercer Island demonstrating that fast paced offense Bainbridge was preparing for. Glimpses of past blow outs began to glimmer on the Spartans’ fate, as they fiercely silenced any doubters with two game tying goals to make it a 3-3 game in the last 30 seconds of the first quarter. By this point, it became obvious that this game was not going to be a blow out by any team, but a close nail biting thriller.
Second Quarter: Mercer Island was looking to be aggressive immediately into the second quarter winning 4 out of 5 face-offs and slinging 9 shots on goal. Mercer Island put themselves ahead early by two with their second attempt to rattle their opponents. Bainbridge remained strong after a pair of shots from freshman midfielder Avery Porter (2 goals) and senior attackman Max Oden (4 goals). Both teams exchanged another goal to tie the game in a 6-6 shootout when Mercer Island decided to retire their senior goalie Ian LaCombe for sophomore goalie Tynan Drayton, who closed out the rest of this game. Bainbridge was determinded to prevent any more scoring as Mercer Island applied all the pressure they could before the first half expired. This was the beginning of the physical defensive battle that would eventually decide the game.
Third Quarter: The second half was dominated by the defense with tight formations and hard body checks up and down the field. These two teams were not going easy on each other as players were getting smashed and loose balls were rolling free. Bainbridge was having particular trouble scoring ever since Mercer Island switched to Drayton at goalie. After a half quarter of gritty contact, Islander’s sophomore Glen Mahony went behind-the-back for an accurate shot past Spartans’ goalie Charlie Shrout. Bainbridge was in trouble as Drayton had put up a steel curtain against their offense saving every shot in his first 12 minutes. Not only were they struggling to score this quarter, they were losing every face-off to make it even harder to rally on offense. The Spartans were getting desperate as they approached the fourth quarter trailing 7-6. With 15 seconds remaining, McMahon fires an unassisted shot through a hole in Drayton’s defense to tie the score for the fourth time that game. This Island War needs a hero if one of these teams is going to walk of the field with their first win of the season.
Fourth Quarter: Both teams put all of their energy on defense realizing that either could score at any moment. Bainbridge hadn’t held a lead all game since the first score so it became imperative for their defense to step up. Spartans’ defenseman Lucas Pederson was getting very physical in this quarter knocking many players to the ground and sweeping up ground balls to clear the field giving his team a lot of room to breathe. It was feeling grim for the Bainbridge Spartans as the Islanders won every face-off, and the possession battle. After a quiet six minutes into the quarter, Bainbridge took the ball to their opponent’s side of the field to set up a play. Oden led a play that kept the ball hot around the cage for about a minute before he made a clutch shot through defenders to give his team the lead with five minutes left to play. Bainbridge tucked into a comfortable defensive position as they waited for Mercer Island’s answer. The Islanders put together a few long plays trying to force the Braves to make a mistake on defense. Bainbridge held onto their defensive plan being aggressive and using sound fundamentals as Mercer Island could not find an answer before the clock turned zero.
The island curse has been lifted and the Bainbridge Spartans had finally beat their island rivals breaking an eight game losing streak dating back to 2009. The Spartans made a statement in this season opener as they emerged victorious above all the carnage in this years Island War.
Story by Michael Thornbloom