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Brother Rice scores early and often, defeats Berkley 8-3

By: Ben Szilagy, March 5, 2016, 9:35 pm



Oak Park — Birmingham Brother Rice senior Emmerson Vogel was sitting at his team’s unity breakfast on Saturday thinking that Saturday night was going to be special.

It had been since 2011-2012 since Rice had earned back-to-back regional championships. But, even though Vogel had a feeling, he didn’t see his four-goal night happening.

“I probably didn’t have four goals in game since mini-mites, though,” he joked. “But after our unity breakfast this morning, we knew we were going to have it going today. This is a big win for us. It solidifies who we are as a team, and what we’re capable of.”

Vogel, and Brother Rice captured its second straight regional championship defeating Berkley 8-3 Saturday night at the Oak Park Ice Arena.

Vogel jumpstarted the Warrior (21-6-1) offense 2:01 into the first period, when he fluttered the puck glove side for a 1-0 lead. Six minutes later, he put his team in a bind with a five-minute major.

While killing the penalty, senior captain Nick Bowman raced the puck raced the puck into the Bears’ end instantly creating a 2-on-1 rush 12 seconds into the Berkley power play.

Bowman gave up the puck to junior Mitch Shults who finished the play at the doorstep for a 2-0 lead.

“All special team goals are big. Getting a shorty off a five minute major those are always big. They lift up team, especially in big games, and they’re moral boosters. No question that helped us the rest of the way,” Brother Rice coach Lou Schmidt said.

Berkley (18-8-1) fought back in the second period after Rice received a goal by Bowman on another odd man rush.

Bear senior Ian Melrose slipped behind the Rice defense and walked the puck 64 feet into the Warrior end before cutting into the lead, 3-1 with 6:46 left in the second period.

Bowman (on the power play) and Melrose would trade goals a minute a part before Vogel offered a back breaker with two second left in the second period when he scored his second goal of the game for a 5-2 lead.

“Those last minute goals, let alone a last second goal are heartbreakers. That was probably the biggest of the four of Vogel’s goals,” said Schmidt. “In the playoffs you can’t rely on one line. You need guys like Emmerson scoring goals because it might not be there in the next game. Everyone needs to chip in, and tonight was Emmerson’s night.”

The night was also the product of great line play as well. Vogel was paired with Jack Dansbury and Mike McInerney midway through the season, and they’ve gelled into a formidable line.

That was on display in the first three minutes of the third period when The Warriors scored three goals, two by Vogel and one by Jack Reinhart to further extend the lead, 8-2, before Berkley’s Zach Leonard scored.

“We just came out with a little bit more energy in the third, but the energy was there all game. When you’re playing at a high pace good things just always seem to happen, and you can work the game inside,” Schmidt said.

“The first shots were going in because we weren’t bombing them from the perimeter. We were able to get inside the blue line for our scoring chances, and it made our night easier.”