The Flatbush Varsity Girls Hockey team kicked off its second season of competition Tuesday night (2/27), battling one of the more established programs down to the end of the third period before losing an 11-5 decision to the visiting Ramaz Rams at the Aux Nest in Brooklyn, NY.
The 2018 Falcons’ roster is almost twice as large as the one that took the floor for Flatbush in their inaugural season last year, but it is a young squad as there are only four returning players with experience in actual competition. Credit to Head Coach Chelsea Donovan and Assistant Coach Barbara Stern and the work they have done with the girls in the off-season, it was difficult to tell that the majority of the Falcons had never played the game before. Coupled with the energy and leadership provided by the four veterans – returning Seniors, Center Esther Beyda and Goaltender Talia Ovadia, Junior Danielle Malka and Sophomore Stella Lessler – the newbies were clearly ready to step out on the floor and show the coaches that they have taken to heart all the lessons learned since pre-season practices began back in October.
It was clear this was a new year, as the confidence level of the Flatbush players was high. Last year, game one was an eye-opening education for the hockey Falcons. This time around, the veterans set the tone, and the rookies were not afraid; these Falcons came ready to play.
Ovadia was stellar in goal, as the Rams peppered her with shots all night long, and she kept Flatbush close all game long. Ramaz took the lead, but Flatbush showed they have some firepower as well, and the Falcons recorded their first goal on a combination from a veteran and a rookie. Malka hit rookie Senior Fernanda Mosseri with a beautiful pass, and Mosseri drove it home for her first career goal. Another first-time player then followed with her first career goal when Junior Kayla Motovich beat the Rams netminder.
Motovich would record two more goals for a hat-trick in her first game as a Falcon. Joining the offensive attack, the parings of Malka/Mosseri and Beyda/Motovich pressured the Ramaz goal all game long, digging the ball out of the corners and capitalizing on the opportune moments to get the ball into the back of the net.
Defensively, Lessler was all over the place, and worked hard to anchor the midline to keep the ball in the offensive zone. She was joined by first timers Rachel Nahon, Grace Madeb and Perla Berkowitz who worked hard to provide an added layer of protection to Ovadia in net.
Flatbush was close all game long, and were looking to close the three-goal gap that they faced. With a little over half of the third period left to play, Ramaz held an 8-5 lead. Flatbush looked to take advantage of a player switch, but when it did not go smoothly, the falcons ended up with too many players on the floor. It resulted in a penalty, and with the man advantage, the Rams managed to get one past the Falcons defense to go up four goals. The Rams would add two more to reach the 11-8 final score. But the final result did not diminish the effort put forth by the Falcons in the season opener.