The Flatbush Girls Hockey team put on what was perhaps their best performance to date on Monday night (4/23), but it was not enough against a defensively powerful HAFTR squad, as the Hawks defeated the Falcons by a score of 5-0 at the Aux Nest in Brooklyn, NY.
Right from the drop of the opening puck, the Flatbush girls brought high energy to the Aux Nest court, and the Falcons played and outstanding 2/3 of the opening period, with Esther Beyda and Kayla Motovich getting pressure on the Hawk goal, and Stella Lessler and Grace Madeb – backed up by Frieda Dabbah, Perla Berkovitz and Chen Menashe – keying a defensive effort that denied the Hawks. And, Talia Ovadia made big clears and saves in the goal crease. But with just under four minutes to play in the period, the Falcon reserve defenders could not clear the zone, and when they grew fatigued, HAFTR capitalized, taking the 1-0 lead. The Hawks would get another goal, but consecutive Ovadia saves with the Hawks on the Flatbush doorstop kept the damage from being any worse. After one period of play, HAFTR held a 2-0 lead.
Flatbush looked like they might mount an attack, but HAFTR moved the defense out of position, and in a two-on-none got the ball through the five hole for goal number three. Yet, the Falcons did not fold. Goalie Ovadia made save after big save to keep Flatbush close. Offensively, Dabbah held the line and kept the pressure, and Motovich and Beyda nearly capitalized, but were denied. Moments later, Danielle Malka and Katriella Weingarten nearly got one in as well, but they, too, were denied. Flatbush carried the play for most of the period, with Motovich and Beyda again getting prime looks, but were still unable to put the puck home. Again, Ovadia made some big late saves, and at the end of two, it was now 3-0 in favor of the Hawks.
Beyda nearly scored twice in the opening two minutes of the third period, and only an amazing save by the Hawk goalie kept Flatbush off the scoreboard. Flatbush killed off a penalty successfully, but less than a minute after Berkovitz came out of the penalty box, the defense could not clear any of three rebounds in front of the goal, and HAFTR got goal number 4 with 7:36 remaining in the game. During the flurry ion front of the Faltbush net, Ovadia managed to get her hand stepped on by a HAFTR player, and Flatbush needed to chacnge keepers, inserting rookie Goalie Zoe Sabbagh. Sabbagh came up with a save on her first chance in the pipes. But, the defense left her facing a two-on-none after the Falcons couldn’t hold the line, and HAFTR took a 5-0 lead just after the teams switched ends. Sabbagh settled in though, and was strong in goal the rest of the way, denying a final flurry of Hawk shots late in the game. Unfortunately, the Falcon offense just could not beat the HAFTR netminder, and when the clock hit 0:00, HAFTR had won by a final score of 5-0.
After the game, Head Coach Chelsea Donovan was beaming with pride at the display her girls put on. “This was definitely the best game we played as a team all season,” she exclaimed. “That is the kind of effort we want every time out, and I love that we are getting better every time on the floor.” The energy never waned, and the Falcons kept coming in waves of pressure all game long. It was only the strength of the opposing goalie that made the game look more lopsided than the level of play from both teams indicated. Hopefully, the next time out, the great effort will finally yield that elusive first win!
NEST NOTES: The Falcons have the opportunity to build on the momentum of this performance very quickly, as they will be back in action in just three days’ time when they host the Frisch Cougars on Thursday, April 26. The puck will drop at 7:30 pm. Don’t be late!