After a powerful season, the Bruins were finally stopped in the quarterfinals of the 3A state playoffs by the Riverside Pirates. It was a close game with things tied 1-1 at halftime and 2-2 at the end of the second half with the Pirates pulling ahead in overtime to end at 4-3.
“The kids played their hearts out and we got into overtime,” said Bruins coach Jess Beaman. “The seniors are gonna be a little upset. We thought we’d be a little farther along and at least get to the semi-finals again this year.”
The Bruins end their season in the quarterfinals of the 3A state playoffs after taking a completely uncontested first place in their new 3A league at 12-0. Overall they were ranked No. 4 in the OSAA 3A rankings with a 15-2 overall record. The team scored a 124 goals this year and only allowed a total of seven through all season.
The Bruins and Pirates were evenly matched at first in Saturday’s game with the the Pirates eventually taking the first goal towards the end of the first half. As the half winded down, the Bruins managed to tie things up with only 30 seconds left to go into the second half even at 1-1.
The game picked up in the second half with the Pirates coming out aggressively with a very physical game. The Bruins managed to score first near the 30-minute mark, but the Pirates came back halfway through to tie things up at 2-2 take things into overtime.
Overtime started out grim for the Bruins with the Pirates scored two points in the first 10-minute half to take things to 4-2. The Bruins managed to score once in the second half of overtime but just couldn’t put in another ball to tie things up for a shoutout and ended at 4-3.
Jake Beaman scored first for the Bruins followed by Jair Valdovinos. The final goal was an own goal by the Pirates after getting crowded by the Bruins.
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The Bruins were thrown off by the physicality of the Pirates early in the game and further knocked off balance by the tone of the state playoff referees.
The Pirates also played the ball in the air much of the time and were able to stay on top of the Bruins passing game.
“They were very physical. You watch a game like that and you see why we have to travel,” Beaman said. “When we go places to play you can tell the difference between those kind of referees and the refs we have here. Here, if you touch someone they’ll blow the whistle. But those kind of refs just let the kids play and get crazy.”
The Bruins graduate seven seniors this year, bidding farewell to Austin Fronckowiak, Roman Worthey, Ethan Sayne, Jacob Norman, Nathaniel Barnard, Zach Carlson and Luke Beaman. The date for the Bruins awards banquet has yet to be decided.
The Bruins will pick things back up in spring and Beaman hopes to spend a lot of time at tournaments during the summer to get ready for their second foray into their new 3A league.
“It was a great season. The kids did a good job, but we’ll be losing a lot of talent this year,” Beaman said. “We’ll have to start rebuilding from here and get a lot of time in the Gibney. Next year we’ll have to play hard and compete. We won’t be able to blow teams away like this year.”