Bedford beats Spaulding again

With just minutes to spare in a game to determine the fate of the season, Nate Boyd was in the right place at the right time to lift his team to victory.

Boyd chipped in the game-winning goal for the Bedford High School hockey team’s 3-2 win over Spaulding in the Division II hockey semifinals on Thursday to send the Bulldogs to the championship.

With 3:04 to spare, Boyd recognized his opportunity while he raced toward the net with Jeremy Myers on an odd-man rush. Myers fed the puck from the left circle toward the right post for Boyd to redirect past Spaulding goalie Ben Toussaint (23 saves).

“I saw Boyd breaking to the net and I just wanted to get a quick pass in there and have him bang it home,” Myers said.

It was a frantic fight to the finish in the ensuing minutes. Spaulding (15-5) added an extra skater with a minute remaining and found a few legitimate shots, including one from Kyle Carignan to the right post, but Bedford goaltender Alec Lindberg (14 saves) staved it off.

“Entering the third period we wanted to put the puck on the net more often and we wanted somebody to be driving to the net looking for a loose puck,” Bedford coach Marty Myers said.

It was the third consecutive one point victory over the Red Raiders, dating back to a 5-4 affair in the semifinals a year ago and another 5-4 score in overtime on Feb 19 in Rochester. Spaulding was the only team to come so close to defeating the Bulldogs this year.

“We knew that (Bedford) didn’t have many weaknesses,” Spaulding coach Paul George said. “They skate multiple lines, they’re physical and strong and we knew that it was going to be a difficult process to knock them off.”

Following an evenly fought opening frame that included no scoring, Brent Phillips lit the lamp for Spaulding 26 seconds into the second period. Patrick Gagliardi attempted to clear a loose puck in front of the Bedford net, but Phillips stepped in to block it and whip a shot into the Bulldogs’ net.

“We’re used to playing down sometimes and as a team we just rally and come back,” said Boyd. “It really wasn’t something new to us so we knew how to approach it.”

From there, Bedford jolted to a sense of urgency and invaded the Red Raiders’ zone to put in two consecutive goals, capturing a 2-1 lead.

“It was the first period jitters that we wanted to get through,” Marty Myers said. “Going into the second period, we wanted to play more aggressively and create more opportunities.”

Two-and-a-half minutes after the Phillips strike, Asa Palker collected a puck off the boards from a clear by the Bedford defense setting himself up with a breakaway that he whisked past Toussaint.

Myers added the second tally three-and-a-half minutes later when he tucked in a loose puck in front of the net before Toussaint could pounce on it.

Bedford seemed to be in control at the time, but a crosschecking penalty gave way to Phillips’ second goal just six seconds into the power play, knotting the game 2:37 prior to the end of the period.

The win also maintained the Bulldogs’ perfect record, but that was something Marty Myers did not foresee his team having to protect so late in the season.

“Our record is unexpected, we’re certainly happy and proud of it, but we’re prouder of how we’ve been playing,” he said.

“We’ve been pretty consistent. We’ve had some bumps in the road, but we’ve recovered.”