As they entered the 7A state tournament, the Har-Ber Wildcats weren’t expected to do much as the No. 6 seed from the 7A-West.
But three upsets in three days has Har-Ber just 80 minutes away from an improbable championship.
“The first two years we didn’t even make the playoffs,” senior goalie Ben O’Brien said. “Last year we get the one seed and knocked out first game. It was just motivation. That chip on our shoulder to come out and get it.”
O’Brien was bombarded in net on Saturday as defending state champion Northside had more scoring chances than you could count but the senior kept a clean net for the second straight game.
“He’s been the rock back there,” Har-Ber coach Nelson Medina said. “His communication, his leadership, being a senior. Fantastic job. Made some big saves for us early on today and he was just fantastic in the air too.”
“He made amazing saves,” senior defenseman Mitch LaMendola said. “Three great saves in the first half where he stretched his whole body, superman style.”
After Har-Ber took a 1-0 lead midway through the second half, the Wildcats starting pack nine and sometimes all 10 players in the goal box with O’Brien. It was a strategy they knew they had to pull off.
“We’re worn out from the past two games so once we got that first goal we just parked the bus in front of the goal tried to defend and hold that win,” O’Brien said.