Despite this being a match-up of two defending state champions, the pressure all seemed to be on CBA to come up with the win over their conference foe Middletown North. While they accomplished that goal, it was far too close for their liking.
At the end of the second period, it looked like CBA was going to run away with this game when they had a 3-0 lead. In the first 27 seconds of the third period, CBA took even more command with a goal by Christian Winters that made it 4-0. However, that is when things started to fall apart.
Seven seconds later, Middletown North responded with a goal by John Hallard. CBA committed a handful of penalties in this period, one of which resulted in a second Middletown North goal by Khristian Acosta with 8:25 left in the third period. They added one more by Kevin Felice with 1:36 to go to add some pressure with an empty net.
Even though Middletown North failed to complete the comeback, the effort on CBA’s end in the third period was definitely noticed as a big negative for the team.
“We got a little too settled with our lead,” said CBA player Anthony Cucich. “We didn’t expect them to come back the way they did.”
“It’s a Shore Conference game where we find it hard to motivate,” added CBA head coach Ryan Bogan. “It sounds cocky, but it’s hard staying motivated because of the strength of the Gordon Conference.”
CBA got so comfortable that rather than taking a penalty shot with 10:30 to go in the third period while having a 4-1 lead, coach Bogan decided to take the power play instead, which the Colts failed to take advantage of.
“You want the best for your guys and you want to teach them so I turned down the penalty shot because we had an opportunity to work on our power play,” said Bogan.
Going into this game, CBA mainly had their eyes on Khristian Acosta and Bobby Hampton, the two star players for Middletown North who had one goal and three assists respectively.
“Those two players are better than any two players we have on our team,” noted Bogan. “There’s no doubt about it.”
Of course while those two players are very talented, Anthony Cucich had a noteworthy day for CBA, scoring the first two goals in the first period that put the Colts over the top.
“The first goal was a shot on net and I saw the rebound so I went to the net and dug it home,” noted Cucich. “The second one I was one-on-one, made a little move, tried to get a screen, and scored another goal.”
“He’s been one of our more solid players and consistent guys,” added Bogan.
This game resulted with CBA getting their tenth win of the season while Middletown North suffered their first loss. Nevertheless, the Colts have a lot to think about going forward if they want to repeat as state champions.
“We can’t take teams lightly when we have a lead,” said Cucich. “We can’t be content. We just have to keep pushing.”
CBA goes back to the Gordon Conference with a home game on Wednesday at 5:15 against Don Bosco Prep, while Middletown North also returns home on Tuesday at 7:30 to face Marlboro.