By Erik T. Masingill ’12
The Brophy hockey team entered the playoffs with their first No. 1 seed and now has won their first state title thanks to a 5-2 win over the Pinnacle Pioneers Sunday, March 11 at the Alltel Ice Den.
“I think we scored three power-play goals, and that was the difference in the game,” said head coach Mr. Eric Murrietta. “In championship-tight games, you get power-plays, and you convert them, and you’re going to win games.”
The Broncos (16-5-2 overall) managed to score two power-play goals in the first period while shutting out the Pioneers.
Tanner Tuohy ’13 scored first on an assist from Jon Carkeek ’12 with 9:42 left. Three minutes later, Chas Dunlap ’12 scored to give the Broncos a 2-0 lead at the end of the first.
In the second period, Pinnacle scored on its first shot attempt with 12:04 left to tighten Brophy’s lead.
The Broncos responded 44 seconds later as Spencer Smith ’13 scored another power-play goal with an assist from Tuohy. The Pioneers were able to score again once at full strength with 1:42 left in the period to go into the locker room down 3-2.
The Broncos would shut out the Pioneers in the third period while Brophy connected on two more shots for goals to obtain their 5-2 victory.
Ryan Ricci ’12 scored on a long distance shot with 11:12 left, and with 3:47 left in the game Tuohy scored his second goal getting the puck through the legs of the Pinnacle defenseman and then by the goalie.
Goalie Nick Rubey ’12 saved 13 of 15 shots while Pinnacle goalie Matt Hill saved 18 of 23.
“I think they always stayed composed, they didn’t stop,” Mr. Murrietta said. “No matter what happened, the testament to a good team from the start all to the finish, you continue to block shots, you continue to work, you get up by three and you don’t let up.”
“Those things are important, and that translates to long-term success, and that was the best thing I saw out of them is they just never quit, never quit today,” he said.
Mr. Murrietta also said he has enjoyed coaching the Broncos to winning a title.
“I am glad that I had the opportunity be asked to coach the team two and a half years ago,” he said. “It’s been a great experience. Brophy is an easy school to coach because the boys already are ingrained with a good work ethic, and translating that into teaching them systems and tactics and helping them to be successful has been awesome.”
“I’m excited for the boys,” he said. “They earned it; they’re the ones that do all the work. I just try to point them into the right direction, but they earned it for sure.”
Once the clock ran down to zero, a fight broke out around the Brophy bench between both teams.
When the referees separated everybody, the Broncos celebrated with hugs, thanking the crowd for the support and hoisting their first-place trophy.
“We are so excited just to be the first group to go out with a win as seniors,” Carkeek said. “It feels great. There were nine (seniors) of us on the team, we did it for each other. So we’re pumped. We’re gonna go have fun.”
Carkeek also said the win was a result of their ability to capitalize on power-play opportunities.
“They’re a team that takes up a few penalties; we put the puck in the net when they took a penalty. We just worked hard. We back-checked hard, we for-checked hard, and we just kept our feet moving all night, and that’s the way to beat a team that has a lot of skill, just out-work them.”
Pinnacle had six penalties with two in each period while the Broncos only had two in the game.
Carkeek also said the seniors of the team carried a bigger passion for winning the championship over playing hockey in the future.
“We had a lot of seniors that really helped out the team. Not to say the past seniors weren’t dedicated, but we were really here to win this. We weren’t just here to play this last season and go to college. We were here to win.”
More photos from the game: