The final game of group play for this year’s Barrington Classic Tournament matched the Streamwood Sabres up against our Broncos. Streamwood had won their first two games within the group earlier in the week, setting up a pairing that would see the winner would secure a place in Saturday night’s championship match. Our team was up for the challenge, and did quite well to earn a comfortable win in a game that was not as comfortable as the score line might suggest.
The opening of the game saw quite a bit of skillful play from the visiting Sabres, and an equal amount of defensive fortitude from our team. Despite our team not really establishing many connections, in the 20th minute, our boys put together a terrific sequence featuring a knifing run from Kyle Owen, who slipped a ball into the box and then got it back on the right wing. With some time to look for a target, Owen picked out a terrific run by Klaus Pallan, who slammed the ball into the back of the net with a powerful header. The Streamwood keeper had no chance.
After the goal, our team looked much more confident and energized, and played much better than in the opening moments. Our Broncos went into halftime ahead 1-0 and feeling good. The boys were focused on grabbing the chance to play for the title of the tournament.
In the second half, each team applied pressure on their opponents, but it was once again the Broncos who found a way to break through. Sixteen minutes into the second half, Enrico Ruffolo delivered a picture perfect free kick from the right flank, across the face of the Sabres goal and onto the head of Pallan. His ninth goal of the new season, Pallan is emerging as a lethal weapon for our side. (As a sophomore, Klaus was the leading scorer for our 2015 team, with eight goals in the 23 game season. He is clearly on pace to shatter that mark.)
The game was sealed twelve minutes later when Michael Blanke was rewarded for several excellent and electric runs in and behind the Streamwood defense. Blanke took flight down the left wing and received a ball into his feet from Zach Carbonara. Blanke broke into the Sabre box with much determination and powered a terrific shot through the goalkeeper and into the net. The 3-0 advantage would definitely be enough to take any remaining hope from the Sabres. With this in mind and with lots of smiles, Michael’s teammates surrounded and hugged him, as they celebrated his first varsity goal. Coach Steib is sure this will be the first of many during for the young sophomore!
A recap of this victory would be incomplete if there was no mention of the work that Broncos goalkeeper Alex Ruffolo and the entire Barrington defensive group put forth. Streamwood only managed three shots on goal, due to the work of the group. They did find other ways to create chances though, the main one being several driven crosses into the box. Unfortunately for them, Ruffolo was superb in his decisions to punch clear nearly every delivery. Kudos to the team for their defensive work and for the well deserved shutout!
Klaus Pallan (Kyle Owen) — 20th minute
Klaus Pallan (Enrico Ruffolo) — 56th minute
Michael Blanke (Zach Carbonara) — 68th minute