When the 2021-22 Bedford High School Buccaneers began boys’ hockey practice more than 13 weeks ago, Head Coach Brian Seabury thought he was preparing for maybe a five-win season.
On Thursday evening, despite the disappointment of an overtime loss in the opening round of the MIAA Division 3 state tournament, Seabury was “proud of the guys — they played hard and they played well.”
Looking at the pre-season roster, “it was such a young group, so many guys new to the system. But they exceeded my expectations. That one loss doesn’t define our season. Overall it was a success. Obviously, our seniors did a great job.”
Bedford finished 11-7-3 and was 16th in the Division 3 state power rankings, which meant a home game at The Edge Sports Center on Thursday against the 17th seed, Essex North Shore Agricultural & Technical School—Essex Tech.
As expected, the 16 vs. 17 matchup was an even one and was scoreless after the regulation 45 minutes. Essex Tech won the game six minutes, 15 seconds into overtime when Logan Carey tipped Armani Booth’s drive from center point behind goalie TJ Mead. It is Essex Tech’s first post-season win ever.
The Bucs’ best chances were a couple of flurries in front of goalie Kyle Mahan in the second period. The puck did everything but cross the goal line on the first sequence; a couple of minutes later, the goalie was on his back with the puck underneath. He had 17 saves in the period.
Bedford High doesn’t have a lot of firepower up front, Seabury acknowledged. “We’re defensively-minded, well-schooled in the neutral zone and defensive zone—we just don’t have that gift for pucks to get behind the goalie,” Seabury said. Still, “We would’ve liked a better result after period two.”
Over the last five games, the Bucs were shut out three times. Senior goalie TJ Mead (31 saves) allowed just two goals in the last three games, but Bedford lost two of them.
Overtime in Massachusetts High School hockey is more wide open than regulation time, because it’s four-on-four, sudden victory. If the game had remained scoreless after eight minutes, the teams would have skated three-on-three.
Mike Rosenberg can be reached at email@example.com, or 781-983-1763