Bears fall in playoff overtime heartbreaker

The 2021 Roosevelt hockey season came to an end on March 16, but the Bears did not go down without a fight. Roosevelt fell 3-2 to Grosse Ile in four overtimes in the first round of the Michigan High School Athletic Association regional tournament. Photo by Larry Caaruso

Hank Minckiewicz

Riding the momentum of a strong second half of the regular season, the Roosevelt hockey team skated into the Michigan High School Athletic Association playoffs March 16 against Grosse Ile.

The Bears went 7-2 over the course of the final nine games of the regular season and were ready for the postseason. But in the end, Grosse Ile was just a little bit better.

It took three regular periods, three eight-minute overtimes and part of a fourth, but Grosse Ile finally scored the game-winner and took a 3-2 victory over the Bears.

The Bears found themselves in an early hole in the game as Grosse Ile’s Pat Karn scored just 2:53 into the game. Near the end of the first period, Grosse Ile’s Ben Carter scored four seconds into a Red Devils power play.

The game stayed 2-0 throughout the remainder of the first period, the second period and throughout part of the third.

It wasn’t that the Bears were not getting scoring chances – they were – but Grosse Ile goalie Own Bonham kept knocking them aside or smothering them. Roosevelt had 36 shots in regulation time and outshot Grosse Ile 56-44 for the game.

The Bears cut the deficit to one six minutes into the third period when William Heskett picked up a loose puck at center ice, swooped into the Grosse Ile zone and beat Bonham on the stick side with a hard, rising shot. 

The game returned to its back-and-forth rhythm until time grew short. 

With 1:41 to play, Wyandotte pulled goalie Aiden Jordan and just over a minute later Jason Cuppari made the strategy work when he scored on a shot through a crowd to knot the game and force overtime.

Both teams had plenty of chances to end it, but Bonham and Jordan each played well.

The Bears actually got one past Bonham when he mishandled a shot and it fell out of his glove and trickled into the net, but a quick whistle cost Roosevelt the goal.

Grosse Ile ended the game 2:19 into the fourth overtime when Eric Ellis dug the puck loose from the side boards and fired it out front to freshman Tate Hubler, who redirected it past Jordan for the win.

The victory sent Grosse Ile on to the regional semifinals against defending regional champion Gabriel Richard. The loss ended Wyandotte’s season. The Bears finished 7-10 overall.

The regional got a little wacky when COVID-19 reared its head, infecting the Riverview and Bedford teams causing them to forfeit. Because of the forfeits, Carlson and Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central played in the other semifinal game

Regular season was a wild and crazy ride

The Roosevelt hockey team just finished up what was a head-snapping, whiplash-inducing 16-game regular season.

Like everyone else, Roosevelt had its season start delayed and delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic and when the season finally started on Feb. 11, it was not pretty.

The Bears lost on opening night to Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett 5-1 and the struggle began, Roosevelt lost its first seven games by a combined score of 27-4. The Bears lost to Liggett, Detroit Country Day, Salem, Novi, Trenton, Allen Park and Lake Orion.

Roosevelt was shut out in three of its first seven games and scored just one goal in the other four. Their eighth scheduled game – against Riverview – was cancelled.

But then, the switch was flipped.

The Bears clobbered Huron 10-2 on Feb. 26 and that seemingly ignited a fire as the Bears went on to win seven of their final nine games to finish the regular season with a respectable 7-9 record.

In the blowout of Huron, the Bears got three goals and six points from William Haskett and a goal and five points from Alex Moon and they cruised to their first victory of the season. Zach Ciaravino had two goals and two assists, Ray Isham had two goals and an assist and Jason Cuppari and Luke Beaubien each shipped in with goals. 

That victory was the first of three straight for Coach Mike Quint’s team as they exacted some revenge on Allen Park with a 2-0 victory and then beat Carlson 3-1. Jason Johnson’s first-period power-play goal proved to be the game-winner against the Jaguars and Johnson, Moon and Isham scored third-period goals against Carlson to break up what had been a 0-0 tie heading into the final frame.

The Bears lost to Ann Arbor Pioneer, but bounced back with back-to-back wins two over Woodhaven. In the 2-0 win over the Warriors, Moon and Cuppari had the goals and in a 3-2 win over the Warriors, Moon had two goals and Luke Peck had the other. Moon had three points and a hand in all the Wyandotte scoring and his second goal, with less than two minutes to play, was the game-winner.

The Bears made it three wins in a row again a few nights later with a 6-4 win over Riverview. Six different Bears – Ciaravino, Beaubien, Moon, Cuppari, William Ballantyne and Luc Hill – scored for the winners. 

Defensively, the Bears held Riverview’s high scoring duo of Gavin Holmes and Ryan Herzog to just one goal and three points between them.

Roosevelt then ended the regular season with a 2-1 loss to Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard and a 4-1 win over Dearborn Unified to cap a wild roller coaster of a season.

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