The ice was freshly resurfaced and the lights reflected from above. Bellarmine’s Varsity Ice Hockey team, who went undefeated during the San Jose Sharks High School Hockey League’s regular season, looked to capture the inaugural varsity league title. Meanwhile, the Valley Christian Warriors hoped to pull off the underdog victory against the Bells.
As the puck dropped to begin the game, both teams looked a little slow as they had both played the day before in their respective semi-final matchups. The scoreless tie was broken seven minutes in as Brendan Jew ’17 knocked in a rebound off a shot by Connor Clerkin ’17. The very next shift, Matt Galloni ’17 tipped in a shot by Greyson North ’17. In a matter of just 22 seconds, the Bells gained a two goal lead. There was no more scoring for the rest of the first period but both teams continued to battle it out.
Two minutes after the start of the second period, the Warriors brought the deficit down to one after a misread by the Bells’ defense, leaving Cross North ’19 helpless against two Valley Christian forwards. The Bells soon increased the lead back to two after a shot by Clerkin squeaked by the Valley Christian goaltender. At the end of the second period, Jake Sweeney ’17 took a shot that David Nguyen ’20 tipped in, bringing the score to 4-2 by the end of the second.
Valley Christian scored two goals within the first five minutes of the third period, again bringing themselves within one goal. The momentum seemed to be swinging in favor of the Warriors, but only three minutes later, North capitalized on a turnover to give the Bells their fifth goal of the game. Bellarmine did not look back from this point as Jake Abene ’17 and Owen Evans ’17 both scored later in the third, and the game ended with a score of 7-4. Bellarmine had won the championship.
There were smiles all around as team captain Greyson North hoisted the trophy up, solidifying the Bells season with a win. After two tough losses in both the State Playoffs and the Anaheim Ducks High School Hockey League in March, the Bells were filled with joy as they ended their season with a varsity title. Jake Abene led the team with three points (one goal, two assists) and every senior playing in the game recorded at least one point in their final game, with six of the seven scoring a goal.
On a sentimental note, the Bells ended their season with 24 wins, a number very special to the hockey program. In December 2016, the Bellarmine Hockey Community lost Stephen Caban ’15 after his fight with kidney cancer. Caban wore the jersey #24 throughout his Bellarmine Hockey career and served as an inspiration to all with his work ethic and constant positivity on and off the ice.
Congratulations to the Bellarmine Varsity Ice Hockey Team on their varsity league win! Go Bells!