Well it was off to south Jersey for the preliminary round of the State Playoffs. The way these State playoffs go, everyone expected the Comets to play a top seeded team. But since this was a preliminary round, the Comets (ranked 36), would be playing Toms River East (ranked 28th). The potential was there for the Comets to be competitive in this game.
However the Comets got off to a shaky start and quickly found themselves down 0-3 early in the first period. Typical of this Comets team, however, giving up just was not in their make up. They battle and made it 1-3, only to have Toms River put another one in. Toms River would score 2 more times ending the first period 6-1.
Things were not looking good. Exhausted, the Comets would simply not fold. They pulled together, and played a much stronger 2nd period, only giving up one goal, though failing to score any. Then came the 3rd. As if playing with only 7 experienced skaters isn't hard enough, Thomas would be out for the 3rd period due to a broken skate blade, and Robbie would also sit out suffering from a re-aggraveted injury from an earlier game.
So now this team that had played short on players all season was now down to 5 regular skaters. Easy to do the math ... no one would come off the ice for the third. The Comets fought hard, never giving up, but would end the game with a 2-9 loss.
I would like to mention that in the closing minutes of the game, Coach Church made a move to show his appreciation to the other less experienced players on the team. Alex, Ben and Robbie all got to see the ice at the end of the game. Not bad for these players' first State playoff game appearance. This was a move that showed real class to a team that I feel has shown nothing but class all season. I applaud this team, all 13 players (let's not forget our goalie who with only 16 months experience, has played incredible)for giving us a season that was well above any of our expectation! I also applaud the coaches for keeping these players up for every game, as well as our team manager Christina, for being there for them at every game!