Bishop OT Game-Winner Lifts Thunder in Western Mass Final

By Stephen Sports
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WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- After more than two hours of hockey this winter, we finally have something to separate the Taconic and Ludlow hockey teams.
Brayden Bishop made the difference.
Bishop scored in overtime Saturday at the Olympia Ice Center to give the Thunder a 3-2 win over the Lions in the Western Massachusetts Class B Championship Game.
The two teams battled through two low-scoring ties in the regular season, and not much was getting through their defenses in Saturday's Round 3.
And when it was over, even Bishop was at a loss to describe how it happened.
"I didn't really think that much, honestly," Bishop said as his teammates continued the celebration around him. "I just kind of saw an open lane and ripped it. And it went in."
The goal capped a comeback for Taconic, which trailed, 2-0, midway through the second period.
Roshan Warriar scored in the final minute of the second to start the comeback and assisted on both Taconic's other scores, starting with Rylan Padelford's tying goal early in the third.
After giving up the initial lead, Taconic controlled much of the third period despite giving up its only two power-play chances. And the Thunder outshot Ludlow, 8-3, in the third period and OT.
"We had some good pressure there in the third period," Taconic coach Matt Risley said. "I felt like [the Lions] were holding on.
"But then you go to a whole different format [4-on-4 for OT], and you're dealing with teenagers, so you never know what you're going to get."
Cam LaFerriere (16 saves) made a stop on a breakaway opportunity early in the OT to keep it a 2-2 game. And moments later, Warriar played the puck from deep in the offensive zone back to Bishop at the blue line.
Bishop settled it, took a couple of strides toward the goal and fired a shot into the back of the net.
The game's first goal came from Ludlow's Tanna Severyn late in the first period, when he beat LaFerriere from the right-wing circle off a pass from Nick Deroin.
In the 23rd minute, Deroin scored on an odd-man rush to give the Lions a 2-0 lead.
But with just less than five minutes to go in the period, Ludlow's best defenseman took a five-minute major penalty for boarding.
"We definitely needed to get a goal out of there," Risley said. "To further their belief and to keep them working hard and coming back.
"And they did. To their credit, they found a way to get the puck in the net."
Warriar did the honors, firing a shot from high on the right wing that slipped past Lions keeper Peter LeBorgne to put the Thunder on the scoreboard.
After killing off a Ludlow power play to start the third period, Taconic knotted the score.
Warriar played the puck out from behind the net for Padelford in the slot, and the Wahconah High student hit a one-timer into the net to make it 2-2.
Taconic had a prime opportunity to get the game-winner in regulation when it got an offensive zone faceoff with 28 seconds left. It won that one and two more before Ludlow was finally able to clear the zone and get to OT.
Both Ludlow and Taconic move on from Saturday to state tournament play -- the Lions in Division 4 and the Thunder in D5, where they are seeded 29th and open on Monday on the road at Sandwich.
But that's in the future. On Saturday afternoon, Taconic took some time to savor the moment.
"It's surreal," Risley said. "There are no words, really. I feel very grateful and glad for these young men who put in a lot of work this year.
"We did not start the year off very well. But we're ending it on a high note. Hopefully, we can keep it rolling."
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