MARSHFIELD — Down 2-1 after two periods, Barnstable High head coach Scott Nickerson told his disciples in the locker room that he had faith in them.
And what resulted from his inspirational intermission speech was nothing short of uplifting for Nickerson, his players and the entire Red Raider hockey program.
In storybook, come-from-behind “Miracle” fashion, the visiting Barnstable High boys’ hockey team staged a 3-2 regulation time victory that had even its BHS Hall of Fame coach in awe.
“I was as proud of this game as any of the biggest two or three games we’ve ever had in this program,” Nickerson said. “They (Marshfield) were a very good team and we had a very long, difficult week.”
Barnstable, now 3-0 on the season, drew first blood in this affair on a goal from junior forward Nick Dunne that made it 1-0 but Marshfield Rams’ freshman Neil Shea returned the favor to tie it at 1-1 in the first period, assisted by Andrew Fithian. Just 3:18 into the second period, senior goalie Dylan Campbell got beat on a Chris Bertone go-ahead goal that made it 2-1. Bertone was assisted by Jacob Maher and, according to Marshfield High School Athletic Director Scott Madden, “the boys came out to play.”
But then something happened when Barnstable went into the locker room after the second period had ended and both teams went to their respective locker rooms. Nickerson, one of the all-time greatest athletes in the history of Barnstable High School and the varsity ice hockey head coach since 2006, thought long and hard about what he wanted to convey to his troops. In the end, according to senior assistant captain Mike McDonough, what came out was a subtle albeit forthright testament to just how deeply the man cares not just about Red Raider hockey, but each and every player wearing the Red & White, past, present and future.
“He told us he had faith,” McDonough said. “He said he thought we were playing well and the goals would come.”
Little could anyone have foreshadowed that one of the most important goals of the season would come from first-year varsity Red Raider Kevin Craig who tied the score 2-2 on an assist from junior forward Matt Kaski. And then, the faith multiplied and it seeped into the very core of the team’s two leaders in McDonough and captain Donnie Brodd, a fourth-year varsity defenseman.
With just 6:00 minutes remaining in the game, Brodd wheeled behind the Marshfield net and let go a pinpoint pass in front to McDonough who rifled a wrist shot from smack dab on the blue line. Game over. 3-2, Barnstable.
“It went clean through traffic,” an elated but humble McDonough said after the game. “The team showed a lot of heart and the leadership was there and I’m glad I could net the winner to show the team we can win anywhere at anytime.”
After the game, Nickerson credited Campbell with an excellent game in net as well as Dan Black.
Barnstable next faces Newburyport on Friday, Dec. 26 at 8:00 pm at the Hyannis Youth and Community Center.
— Sean Walsh is the sports editor for www.capecod.com. His email is [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @coachwalshccbm.