Mar 05, 2019
Coming off a two-game winning streak, the Bears played the highly competitive South Forsyth War Eagles in their fourth straight home game on Saturday, Feb. 23rd.
The Bears opened the game hot on both sides of the field as the defense held off an early offensive push by the visitors over the first few minutes of the game. Goalie, Danny Dexter, was a force all game and helped save several early shots delivering the ball to the Bear's offense after a lengthy War Eagle possession. Junior Captain, Chase DuMond, came from behind the goal with force and delivered a nifty goal after an aggressive dodge move leaving his defender well behind to give the team the early 1-0 lead. The Bears defense made quick work on the next possession of their foes. In one of the crowd-pleasing highlights of the game, Freshman defender, Ethan Landry, came up the field waiting for the right moment to zip a pass to Senior Captain, McGregor Rowland, who was cutting beyond the midfield defense. Rowland took the pass and found DuMond on a perfect pass near the opponent's goal, who fired an assist to a cutting Zach Shiffman. Shiffman left no doubt about his shot as the home team went up 2-0. The Bears continued their hot start to the game causing several turnovers, including one center field steal on an effective ride by attackman DuMond, that led to a quality possession where Ian Dexter delivered a lefty fastball low and away past the War Eagle goalie. With a 3-0 lead to end the 1st quarter, the momentum was very much on the Bear's side.
Opening the second quarter, a rare equipment issue penalty was called against Cambridge. The War Eagles seized their chance and delivered a goal while man up. Minutes later, the visitors pulled within 3-2 on another well executed play. After having scored several early goals, Cambridge found getting quality open shots difficult. In one series midway through the 2nd quarter, after several nice passes by the Bears, the South goalie stopped a high-quality shot and zipped the ball up field leading to a quick transition goal and a 3-3 score. Possessions were critical in this game as the team only secured 22% of the face-offs against South for the game. Of note, Danny Dexter and the defensive line achieved their best performance of the season with defensive clears---with a 95% positive clear rate. It was this solid execution that allowed the offense to keep this one tight. Reese Pieroni put the home team back up on top with a magnificent fast laser into the right corner of the net on an unassisted goal late in Q2.
The third quarter left the Bears frustrated as the offense had several good possessions and took 10 total shots on goal with none finding the net. Despite South Forsyth having more turnovers than the Bears, the visitors were able to add two more goals in the 3rd period which helped them secure the lead. While possession time was fairly even throughout the quarter, Cambridge's inability to score created the momentum South Forsyth needed to help in the victory.
Zach Shiffman, known for his quick feet and decision making, left several defenders behind on an athletic dodge move with a sweet shot into the net a few minutes into the fourth quarter after the visitors had gone up by two goals. South's next score gave them a 7-5 lead as we neared midway through the final quarter. In the game's best highlight, Jake McIlvain caused disruption in taking the face off leading to an open ground ball nab by Pieroni. The Junior Captain, Pieroni, raced down the field and with one flick of the wrist delivered a beauty to pull the team back to within one goal. The defense caused several turnovers late allowing for additional possessions. As the clock neared one minute left in the game, Chase DuMond looped from one side behind the goal to the other side causing defensive attention while firing a perfect pass into Pieroni's stick who again left no doubt on his right handed laser. Pieroni's third goal of the game meant the Bears were one minute from their second straight OT game. Losing possessions at face off continued to be a challenge as the War Eagles picked up the ball and made an aggressive play up the field. It was a catch and shoot from just above the goal line that ended the team's chances at a third straight win.
At 2-2 on the season, the Bears travel to Lassiter to play their first road game of the year on Tuesday, February 26th.