YARMOUTH, N.S. – The Barrington Barons are NSSAF division 3 high school boys hockey provincial champions after winning the championship game 2-1 in overtime over the Dalbrae Dragons.
The thrilling win at the end of a hard-fought effort by both teams came 25 seconds into overtime off the stick of Grade 12 player Brett Smith.
“It’s still settling in,” he said moments after the Barons team was awarded their gold medals and championship banner.
“I had so much adrenalin going I didn’t even realize what I was doing,” he said in describing his drive towards the Dalbrae net after getting a great pass by his teammates. “After years of playing hockey it’s just natural instinct.”
Smith said the provincials win was special coming during his graduation year and also because this was the only year he and his younger brother Justin played on a hockey team together. He credited his entire team on playing a great tournament.
Barrington and Dalbrae had met up during the round robin of the tournament with Dalbrae winning 5-3 and the Barons pinging another two shots off the goal post. So going into this championship game it was evident it was going to be an intense battle between the teams and neither squad disappointed with fast-paced, physical, end-to-end hockey along with good defence, good offence and good goaltending.
The Barons had advanced to the championship game after edging out regional rival Par-en-Bas Sharks 4-3 in one of the morning’s semi-final games. Dalbrae had advanced with a 4-1 semi-final win over Cape Breton Highlands.
There was no scoring during the first period of the provincials final by either team. Dalbrae held the 1-0 lead after two periods on a goal by Cullen MacEachern. The Barons tied the game in the third on the powerplay with a goal by Tanner Bateman. The Barons looked like they might win the game on a breakaway with just under a minute left in the game but that shot with around 56 seconds left fired off the iron.
“It hit the post and I thought uh-oh,” said Barons head coach Billy Symonds since the play then went up to the other end of the rink, giving the Dragons time to try and score. Even with just 2.9 seconds on the clock after a faceoff Dalbrae was able to fire a shot onto the pad of Barons goalie Riley Duggan.
The game then went into overtime but with Smith’s goal came to a very quick conclusion. The Barons outshot the Dragons 34-19 in the game.
At the final buzzer there were different emotions on the ice – exuberance and joy for the Barons as they hugged and celebrated, and crushing disappointment for the Dragons as they also hugged, but with some wiping away tears.
The Barons coach said he felt the championship final was a good, clean game by both teams and said overall the entire provincials tournament was great in terms of its organization and the even competition that unfolded on the ice. Symonds’ son Jacob is one of the graduating players on the Barons team and the father and coach said the end of the season is an emotional time.
“I’ve been with these kids, some of them since atom hockey, and it’s hard to see them go,” he said. The Barons have seven graduating players: Joseph Atkinson, Tommy Willis, Tanner O’Connell, Riley Duggan, Jarrett Ross, Jacob Symonds and Brett Smith.