Short bench spells demise
by Than Acuff
Things are really heating up in town league hockey as I’ve now seen at least four teams with a legitimate shot at the title. The latest team to join in the running is REG as they decimated a short benched Kochevar’s crew 9-3 on Monday, February 17 thanks in large part to the recent addition of Ben Reaman to their roster and the return of Isaac Long to action.
Kochevar’s lack of players did have a big part in why REG looked so good as they had just two subs on their bench and were missing a couple key elements of their title winning team from last season while REG’s bench was flush.
The sub-story of the night was the Reaman brothers though, with Ben on REG and younger brother Sam on Kochevar’s. The two traded off stripping the puck off of the other on rushes up the ice leaving it to their respective teammates to make up the difference.
That difference came in the second minute of the game when a shot from Billy Watson hit off goalie Lucas McMullen and somehow trickled in.
A couple minutes later REG nearly tacked on a second goal as Dodson Harper skated up ice chasing a loose puck. McMullen came off his line a little too late and Harper dove to swat the puck at the net but it pinged off the post and to Kochevar’s defenseman Paul O’Conner. O’Conner proceeded to find Sam free up ice with a pass and Sam slipped the puck past Zach Vaughter to tie the game.
Niki O’Conner spent the better part of her shifts battling for the puck in the corners looking to inspire her Kochevar’s teammates but REG’s passing, deep bench and plethora of talent provided an insurmountable advantage. Harper skated up the wing to set up Nick “Cooter” Couts in the slot for their second goal and then harper jumped on a missed pass in the seventh minute to score a short-handed goal for REG and a 3-1 lead.
Kochevar’s did what they could though as Sam and Paul O’Conner provided the anchor for the team as players Mikey Weil, Hank DeRoche, Pete Curvin, Conner Mog and Angie Booth were on point in their roles on the ice. The team effort eventually provided opportunity as Booth found Paul circling through the high slot with a pass and O’Conner picked the low corner to pull back within one.
But Harper struck again as he picked off a pass in neutral ice and skated to net to score, capping what may have been one of the best periods of hockey this season.
Kochevar’s came out hot in the second period to pull back within one again as Sam skated coast-to-coast to toast the team with a goal but as the period wore on, Kochevar’s wore out and REG went to work.
Ben proceeded to score back-to-back goals in a span of three minutes to open the game up and Elizabeth Welsh poked another goal in for REG to build a 7-3 lead on the depleted Kochevar’s crew.
Kochevar’s turned it up at the start of the third period and were pressing hard but shots from Sam were turned away by Vaughter with a series of unconscious bordering on Knucklehead saves. REG held on through the Kochevar’s attack and once fatigue set in on Kochevar’s, REG pounced as Long and Guy Ciulla each scored to finish off Kochevar’s 9-3.