photos by Seth Austin
Jupiter Christian broke open a close game in the 4th with a four-goal run to end the game, as the extra faceoffs won by JC’s Jackson Worcester (20 for 22 on the night) led to Palm Beach Central’s defense wearing down late in the game.
Usually a game is won by a combination of things but in this case the faceoff edge led to other issues and truly was the deciding factor. Jupiter Christian put an astonishing 26 of 30 shot attempts on net, including 9 of 10 in the final stanza, as the fatigue gave Jupiter Christian plenty of close in looks. PBC only took two shots in the fourth and the one that hit the net pulled them within one with about 8 minutes to go, but time of possession after that was lopsided as PBC had to chase and defend each lost faceoff.
Caleb Southard controlled possession and tempo for JC as you would expect a Coach’s son to do; showing a variety of skills in dodging, feeding, shooting and decision-making while putting up 5G/3A. Behailu Gooley complimented that with downhill dodging, and finished with 4G/1A, including the eventual game winner as PBC’s defense struggled to keep him from right alley dodges.
PBC held tough in the first half as their offense was efficient then, with 9 of 13 shots hitting the net for their 4 goals in the half. Anthony Broderick made 14 saves for PBC and that kept it close too. Ryan Rundle was able to put up 3G while having to pull double duty at the faceoffs. Preston Williams showed good vision with his 3 assists. PBC’s depth at midfield required both two-way play and offensive contribution and they fell short at the end.
Sometimes a game is pretty simple to analyze and this one was one of them.
This was a game I was happy to see pop up the last week when I could cover the game. I have known Palm Beach Central Head Coach Bill Allen as long as I’ve written here and in the early years was able to cover a game every year, but the last few years I had not been able to do so. Jupiter Christian Head Coach Chris Southard is someone I’ve gotten to know only in the past year or so and that was my loss. These are programs that have had nice seasons so far (JC goes to 7-4 and PBC at 8-4) but just not deep enough to defeat the better programs in the state, but both played a solid, well-coached approach.
And that extends off the field too.
After the game I interviewed Coach Southard on the win but unfortunately my software stopped recording half-way through, cutting off Chris’ invocation of his stance on The Creator’s Game and it’s impact on his approach to the sport. It’s something that all readers need to hear so I’m sorry for that. I’ve watched Coach Allen and his staff coaching over the years and he also takes an approach that fits properly into that narrative; disciplined, intelligent and tailored towards developing the player.
So you could see why I wanted to be there last night.
One team wins, one team loses . . . but all the kids come out the better for that.
We need all of that we can get.
Jupiter Christian took the lead at 9:44 as Southard curled from behind left and face dodged to the front, finishing left hand on the short side. Rundle answered a little over a minute later as he face dodged from left GLE to the front and his right hand hit mid left. At 2:51 PBC took their only lead on Rundle’s second, taking the up top feed from Williams on the right wing for the step down low shot only to have JC respond 38 seconds later on Southard’s curl from behind left for 2-2 and with 1:20 left it was Gooley with the right alley dodge and low right hand shot for 3-2 JC after one.
Lane Spear gave the Eagles the 4-2 lead at 8:59, as Southard found him on low left on the fast break, only to have the Broncos respond twice to tie it at 4. First it was Williams finding Chase Saxon on the right wing from behind for the step down low right shot at 6:52, and then Logan Rohack found Szander Brenner in the middle from up top for the low finish at 5:48. Southard answered with a face dodge curling from the left side and getting inside for the short side finish with 7 seconds left in the half for the 5-4 lead.
Luke Maciak pushed it to 6-4 at 10:53 of the third with a step down after Southard worked behind right and drew the slide, with Maciak finishing with the low shot. PBC got one back on EMO with 4:55 to go as Rohack found Braedon Lofstead on the left from up top for the step down to the low right corner. Southard regained the two-goal lead as he finished off an odd-man rush with a face dodge on the right alley with 1:06 to go but with 11 seconds left it was Williams finding Rundle on left wing for the low, far side step down to send it to the fourth 7-6.
JC started the fourth on the man up on a late penalty and they took advantage just 26 seconds in as Southard worked behind and from right GLE found Gooley up top for the rocket and 8-6. PBC’s Rohack brought them within one at 7:58 as he curled from behind right, up the alley, and found the short side with the left hand, but Gooley scored twice within 9 seconds to break open the tight game. The first was a split dodge from up top at 5:47 followed by Worcester popping forward the next faceoff, finding Maciak on the right wing and Maciak finding Gooley on the low left for the open shot at 5:38. Southard made it 11-7 with 3:59 left as he took advantage of an isolation and bat the defender on a curl left and Gooley found Brandon Racy all alone on the left crease with 1:53 to go to end the game at 12-7.
A well played game on a beautiful night. Doesn’t get better than that.
Faceoffs: Jupiter Christian 20-2
Shots: Jupiter Christian 30-22
Shots on Goal: Jupiter Christian 26-13
Turnovers: Jupiter Christian 15-13
Penalties: Palm Beach Central 4-1
Caleb Southard 5G/3A
Behailu Gooley 4G/1A
Luke Maciak 1G/1A
Lane Spear and Brandon Racy with 1G each
Ben Farley with 6 saves
Palm Beach Central
Ryan Rundle 3G
Logan Rohack 1G/2A
Chase Saxon, Szander Brenner and Braedon Lofstead with 1G each
Preston Williams 3A
Anthony Broderick with 14 saves
Thanks to Coach Allen and Coach Southard for talking to me before and after the game.