Friday Night at AutoNation Stadium in Davie. Cool, clear night. Two passionate coaches.
One hellacious goalie performance.
An attack trio of Sharks that knew how to play off each other and a Paladin who can shoot.
Lots of stories and a great way to spend an early Friday evening.
University School was able to pull away in the second half as the trio of Drew Hoffman, Asher Jurman and Gavin Ward combined for 8 goals and 5 assists, providing just enough offense to overcome the stellar performance of South Plantation’s Jayce Collins in goal, as Collins found his way to 23 saves, many in close. SP’s Dylan Keffer kept his team in the game with a first half hat trick, all of which came on left wing step down shots with great accuracy.
South Plantation Head Coach Michael Collins, also the school’s Athletic Director, had made a strategic decision last season to not play the FHSAA route, and play an Independent schedule he deemed more fitting for his program and decided to resume varsity status this year with 7 freshmen and 11 sophomores on the squad. That group played hard all game but the youth showed in a few ways, as clears were an adventure and offensive flow was hit and miss. But there was certainly promising signs to work with.
University Head Coach Jan Northrop, who I still owe a beverage to even as he deems my wife/movie excuse as weak, has a more sustained program and while his top players are upperclassmen he also has one of his deeper rosters and a true inkling of what the program has to do to compete in a District with currently TWO Top 25 teams occupying slots besides them. His team came off a nice 9-6 record last season with a win over Western and a one-goal loss to Columbus and this team looks to have a similar feel to it. Given the 4 losses last year to STA and AH-Plantation a similar record would be a good season.
So the game really was about two programs at different phases, making it more of a benchmark for where South Plantation is while looking to University as a necessary district win. Both teams came away with something to build on.
SP opened the scoring at 10:29 as Keffer took the Jake Tischler feed from up top on the left wing and his step down hit the low left corner for 1-0. Just 41 seconds later it was tied at 1 as Jurman found Hoffman cutting down the middle from behind and the low right hand shot found net. SP took back the lead at 8:10 as Keffer fed Tyler Anderson on the right wing for the left hand low shot from right wing. At 7:07 it was again tied as Jurman this time found Micah Zebersky on the right wing for the low left corner shot. Again SP retook the lead, just 15 seconds later, as Keffer was able to drift in on the left wing and his long shot found the low right corner for 3-2. University took advantage of the only EMO opportunity in the first half to tie it at 5:09 with Duncan Jurman hitting Hoffman from behind to the left wing for the step down right-hand to the low right. University took their first lead, which they did not relinquish, with 2:25 to go as D. Jurman fortuitously received a deflected pass and dodged to the middle for the bounce shot high to the left corner for 4-3 after one.
University’s Ward finished off the 3 on 2 fast break, taking the feed low left and working towards the middle and finishing low for 5-3 at 11:03. SP pulled within one at 6:43 as Robert Ros found Keffer from up top and he once again hit the low right corner from distance on the left wing. Hoffman scored his third with 2:08 left as he worked the left wing before hitting the low right corner to make it 6-4 at the half.
University added two goals in 38 seconds in the 3rd to double the lead to 8-4. A. Jurman dodged from right wing to the middle and found Ward cutting to the crease and Ward faked once to open the net up for the easy putaway, drawing a penalty on top. Conchade Osceola took advantage of the EMO as A. Jurman fed him from behind for the step down bounce shot. SP drew within 8-5 on their own EMO as Dean Gayle fed Keffer from up top to that favored left wing and he again hit the low right corner with 3:56 left but Hoffman made it 9-5 with 44 seconds left as he drifted in from up top and ripped one low and that’s where the quarter ended.
The teams traded goals in the fourth before University put it away late with the last two. At 8:28 it was Ward finding Zebersky from behind left to the middle while Jonathan Lynn answered with a right wing dodge at 6:44. Ward and and A. Jurman both scored unassisted late goals to make the final 12-6
University is back in action on Friday versus Piper and South Plantation plays Tuesday against St. Thomas.
Faceoffs: South Plantation 10-9
Shots: University 46-24
Shots on Goal: University 35-14
Turnovers: South Plantation 25-14
Penalties: University 6-3
Drew Hoffman 4G
Gavin Ward 3G/1A
Asher Jurman 1G/4A
Micah Zebersky 2G
Duncan Jurman 1G/1A
Conchade Osceola 1G
David Churba with 8 saves
Dylan Keffer 4G/1A
Tyler Anderson and Jonathan Lynn with 1G each
Jake Tischler, Robert Ros and Dean Gayle with 1A each
Jayce Collins with 23 saves
Thanks to Coach Northrop and Coach Collins for talking to me before and after the game.