Inline hockey comes back to win third straight championship

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Photo contributed by Mike O'Hanlon

The Baldwin inline hockey team captured its third straight championship on Sunday.

Jaiman White and Tyler Zeman

Baldwin’s inline hockey team won the third and deciding game in its championship series on Sunday to capture the team’s third straight title.

The Highlanders defeated Norwin 7-4, taking the finals two games to one.

The third game of the series was needed after Norwin won the second game, 6-5, on Saturday.

“We started off leading that game 5-2 until the second period, when they came back and just beat us till the end,” senior Vinny Episcopo said. 

The Highlanders knew they had to make adjustments going into the third game. With the championship on the line, the team had a hard time of reflection and had some things to fix, sophomore J.D. Dettlinger said.

“We were upset. We thought we were going to win and weren’t even thinking there was going to be a game three,” Dettlinger said. “We had to play better defense, and take fewer penalties.”

In the third game, the Highlanders fell behind 2-0 in the first period and were on edge.

“We were a little worried, but we were still focused and just wanted to win,” Dettlinger said.

During the second period the game was back and forth, with the score being 4-4 entering the third period. 

Senior Josh Sobieralski was one of the players who put the team over the top.

“It was back and forth, but then the third period happened and we scored three goals,” Sobieralski said.

Junior Zak Sealey scored entering the third period, with Sobieralski following with three minutes left in the game. With 28 seconds left, the game was sealed as Sobieralski scored on an empty net to officially deliver Baldwin to its third straight title.

“Everyone was celebrating,” Sobieralski said. “We threw our gloves in the air and just ran over and hugged each other.”

Baldwin’s inline team has been one of the school’s most successful teams over the past couple of years, and that has shown with them once again bringing home the hardware. 

Sobieralski and Episcopo were a part of two of the championship teams, and as seniors they got to go out on top and finish the season atop the rest of the competition in their last games.

“It was fun to be a part of something like this,” Episcopo said. “I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Sobieralski agreed.

“It was awesome especially since it was our senior season,” Sobieralski said.

Moving forward there will be a changing of the guard, but the team is carrying a lot of momentum and the players want to keep their winning ways going.

“They can do it again. They have the talent,” Episcopo said.