What began in Canada in the eighteenth century came to a head last night as OBHS A took on the Rangers in the Otago Secondary Schools Sports Association B‐Grade Ice Hockey League and came out on top. And it was a nail‐biter.
Mr M Hall’s OBHS A ice hockey team started on a high with a pre‐season win against Kings B. Unfortunately the team wasn’t able to carry this through into their season opener against the Rangers, the combined team from Logan Park High School, Bayfield High School and Kaikorai Valley College, where the Rangers proved too strong on the night and came out with a 4‐2 win.
OBHS A had a win in round two against John McGlashan B, beating them 5‐0, and then a 1‐1 draw against Kings B in round three. While the Rangers made short work of Taieri College/OGHS in round two, beating them 12‐0, and again showing their dominance in round three when they beat John McGlashan B 14‐0.
After the fourth round two teams moved to the top of the log. OBHS A beat the Ice Queens 3‐1, and the Rangers took Kings B down 9‐2. This winning streak continued in the fifth round as OBHS A beat Taieri/OGHS 7‐0 and the Rangers saw the back of the net 5 times against the Ice Queens.
A showdown awaited in the sixth round with the two top‐placed teams facing off; OBHS A taking on the Rangers. Like earlier in the season, the Rangers proved too good for OBHS A and took the match 7‐1.
From here OBHS A won their next four games, which secured their second‐place spot on the log behind the Rangers who dominated this season, winning all their regular‐season games.
With one team outplaying the other teams all throughout the season, the final had the potential to be a one‐horse race. Nevertheless, OBHS A showed up, and took to the ice with confidence despite having lost both their previous encounters to the Rangers.
The puck dropped and the fastest sport on ice began. Less than a minute in and OBHS A took a 1‐0 lead with deafening cheers from the bench. The lead increased to 2‐0 shortly thereafter with a remarkable long range goal. The Rangers felt the pressure and clawed their way back to a 2‐all tie. OBHS A brought the game to the Rangers and took the 3‐2 lead with a fast paced goal.
The second period had the spectators on the edge of their seats as the Rangers fought to bring the game back to 3‐all before skating even harder and taking a 4‐3 lead. It looked all over for OBHS A since much of the game was being played in their defensive zone, but a break saw OBHS A scoring at the opposite end. And with just three minutes left on the clock, overtime seemed inevitable.
OBHS A played like a seasoned team, they sensed where their team mates were, and their passing was done with pin‐point accuracy. The team who finished second on the log pulled out all the stops, skated hard and went through to score the all‐important goal to take a 5‐4 lead with just two minutes left. And while the Rangers managed to keep the puck in OBHS A’s defensive zone for the rest of the game, they weren’t able to get the puck across the line. As the clock ran down and with five seconds left OBHS A had a breakaway. And with just the Ranger’s goaltender to beat, the clock ran out and the buzzer went just as the shot was made.
OBHS A beat the Rangers and in doing so won the Otago Secondary Schools Sport Association’s B‐ Grade Ice Hockey League. Celebrations were sweet as the team was handed the trophy. And so, with just one thing left to do to pay tribute to the ice hockey players, OBs on three! One! Two! Three! OBs!
‐Craig de Beer