By Mike Dougherty
UTICA – While a lengthy postgame ceremony dragged on, Frazier Bostwick and Jack Grimm stole a moment along the boards to commiserate a difficult loss in the state championship game and commemorate a memorable run by the Indians.
The runner-up medals in hand provided very little consolation.
“We’ve played four years together on the same line,” Bostwick said. “It’s obviously quite sad, but we talked about what everybody has done for the program.”
John Jay had a chance to make a remarkable season historic, but gave up a third-period lead on Sunday and watched Christian Brothers Academy-Jamesville DeWitt celebrate a 4-2 win in the Division 2 title game at The Aud. The Indians were back on the ice some 24 hours after they came up with a dramatic semifinal comeback, and once the lead was gone, the legs began to wobble.
“I think our guys were tired,” head coach Alex Smith said. “I think Saturday was such an amazing finish, and we turn around and go at 12 o’clock, but that’s the way it goes. They must have been just as tired.”
After giving up three goals in the first period of the semifinal, John Jay started cautiously. The Indians made a point of learning from that game and eventually began to control the puck in the offensive zone.
The intensity faded momentarily when Ryan Durkin beat Matt Lanza inside the near post and gave the CBA-JD a 1-0 lead with 8:07 to go in the first.
A near miss by the Brothers immediately after the goal seemed to inspire John Jay to pick the intensity back up. The Indians were strong defensively and kept the pressure on at the other end. And when the period came to an end, John Jay had some momentum.
The Indians (23-2-1) came back out in the second and were again strong on the puck. Getting anything past CBA-JD goalkeeper Tim Decker was not easy. He was tested a number of times, but kept making timely saves.
Frazier Bostwick finally scored on a wrister from the right circle with 1:49 to go in the period. It prompted the hundreds of John Jay fans who made the ride up for the championship to exhale simultaneously.
The Indians weren’t done yet.
Lanza came up with a huge stop on Sam Meuller in the final seconds of the period and the puck was poked out by Anthony Scapperotti. It wound up on the stick of Bostwick, who noticed Grimm coming back all by himself. There wasn’t a defenseman in sight.
“I was pretty surprised,” Bostwick said.
The pass was perfectly timed. Grimm skated in and calmly scored with two seconds to go to make it a 2-1 lead.
“I was thinking not to go offside,” Grimm said. “I wasn’t thinking about how much time was left. I just have sort of a go-to move. I don’t like doing anything fancy in that situation, so I just went to my backhand.”
John Jay had the momentum in hand going into the intermission.
It began to slip away when Connor Moore was called for making contact with the head with just 1:07 gone in the third. Braeden Doust knotted the score 10 seconds later. He got loose and finished a 2-on-1 rush with 10 minutes to play to give the Brothers a 3-2 lead.
John Jay was stunned, and the end was clearly at hand when Drew Brooks scored an empty-net goal with 46 seconds to play.
“Not only physically, but mentally, you start to get drained,” Bostwick said. “We should be really proud of our season and what we’ve done for John Jay hockey. It’s pretty upsetting now, but once it all sinks in, everybody should be proud.”