The boys varsity ice hockey team defeated Deerfield 4-2 on Wednesday, March 4, advancing to the semifinals of the New England Prep School Athletic Conference Martin/Earl Large School Tournament on Saturday, March 7, where they will play the Brunswick School.
After losing to Deerfield twice in the regular season, the Pelicans were determined to defend their home ice. With the encouragement of a large and loud student section, the Pelicans got on the board less than 30 seconds into the game, when a loose puck squirted pass the Deerfield defender and junior Luke Steele picked it up in the neutral zone, blowing by everyone else and firing home a breakaway opportunity to give the Pelicans a 1-0 lead.
Less than two minutes later the Pelicans struck again on another breakaway opportunity, this time coming off of the stick of senior Mathieu Schneider. In a scrum against the wall in the neutral zone, Schneider’s senior linemates Tommy Costello and Isaac Joshi won the puck and touched it along to space, where Schneider picked up the puck and made a nifty move to beat the Deerfield goalie, taking a 2-0 lead.
After that goal the game got much more physical, and both teams traded penalties for the rest of the first period and through the second period. Despite all the odd-man opportunities, though, neither side was able to find the back of the net, and the third period began with the Pelicans holding on to their 2-0 lead.
In the third period Deerfield took advantage of a powerplay opportunity and scored a goal on a scrum in front of the net. The Pelicans responded with a powerplay goal of their own just a few minutes later, when senior Jake Sigal redirected a shot from senior Kennedy O’Connor. With just under 11 minutes left to play, the Pelicans were up by two goals.
That lead was cut in half when Deerfield scored its second goal of the game, this time on an odd-man rush through the neutral zone. Despite the one-goal margin against a team the Pelicans had yet to beat this season, the Loomis team stayed calm and settled in, playing strong in the defensive zone.
As the clock continued to wind down, Deerfield pulled its goalie for an extra attacker, but Loomis sophomore Chris Hibson made a great individual effort to win the puck, skate past two defenders, and slot the puck into the empty net, securing the win and sending the Pelicans to the semifinals.
Loomis will take on Brunswick at Brunswick on Saturday, March 7. The time of the game has yet to be determined. Livestream details for the game will be released later in the week.