In hindsight, maybe Mercer Island should have been less concerned about limiting emotions in the stands and more about getting some on the field.
On a rare night where policemen outnumbered streakers in The Jungle at Mercer Island, the Bellevue Wolverines dismantled their hosts from the opening whistle to the final horn. Perhaps the Islanders could have benefited from just a little more cowbell.
Blake Samuel’s opening goal 29 seconds into the game let everyone know that the Wolverines came ready to play. Senior Drew Douglas (3g, 3a) fed Samuel (1g,1a), easily the most precise shooter in Bellevue if not the state, who plunked it into the top corner. Douglas had a hand in five of the first six goals, scoring twice in the first quarter to give Bellevue a 4-0 lead at the end of the first stanza.
Bellevue goalie Austin Boyd (11 saves) had three quick saves at the beginning of the game, but after that, Mercer Island seemed emotionless, unable to get up off the mat. The crowd was waiting for the inevitable Islander rally, but as the score slipped to 5-0, 6-0, then 7-0, the rally seemed more, uh, evitable. When Hayden Reisman finally put MI on the board late in the first half, everyone held their breath. But Bellevue’s Cole Johnson (5g) answered immediately to quench any flame, and the Wolverines led 8-1 at the half.
But the halftime was subdued, with the aforementioned policemen the only topic of conversation in the stands. A second half rally was anticipated, but there was no momentum to be had, as Bellevue dominated the time of possession again. Simon Jenkin (1a,7gb) was spectacular on faceoffs, winning 11 of the 15 he was involved in and denying Mercer any hope. And the Wolverine defense, led by All World Sam Leggett, were absolutely stifling, somehow limiting the Islander offense to just 13 shots on goal. Dakota Jones (6gb) played his best game at d-middie. Matthews, Federspiel and Backer (1a, 4gb) made beautiful music together with their long sticks, conducted by goalie Boyd, who stopped all but two of the 13 shots. The Islander rally was never allowed to materialize, the MI fans never had an opportunity to get their cheer on. Bellevue wins in The Jungle for the second time ever (and the second time in three weeks) handing the Islanders their worst league loss.
So, in a game that four months ago seemed unfathomable, a rematch that a month ago seemed mathematically impossible, Bellevue and Eastside Catholic will face off in the State Championship. It feels wrong to call the Crusaders a “Cinderella Story”, as they’ve proven over and over that they belong at The Ball. It’s certainly not a “David v. Goliath” matchup, as we would have described it in March, because Eastside Catholic defeated Bellevue already this year. What it is, is a game you cannot miss. And, unfortunately, a game you cannot bring cowbells to. However, I’ll buy a round for any streakers…