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Bengals Ground Soaring Eagle in Marquee Match-up

The No. 1 Brighton Bengals hosted the No. 3 Juan Diego Soaring Eagle Friday night in a match-up that some posited may be a preview of the Class-A championship on May 21. Despite a lopsided start, the game was a good one — fantastic individual performances, precision teamwork, and big hits & physical play. The Bengals were able to get Juan Diego off their game early with a well-coordinated ride, frenetic offensive pacing, and aggressive man defense. Preseason All-American Bubba Fairman was instrumental in the quick start on the offensive end, scoring two and assisting on two more and giving Brighton a four-goal lead that they would not relinquish for the rest of the contest. The Soaring Eagle eventually found their rhythm and kept pace with the Bengals, even cutting the lead to three late in the third quarter, but they couldn’t overcome the early deficit and fell 15-10.
“We’re happy with the win,” said Brighton head coach Brandon Horoba, “Juan Diego’s a very good team, they’re very disciplined, and we’re happy to come out on top. In practice every day, we get an opportunity to go against some of the best players with one another. So, we work hard and push the kids and hopefully it pays off — so that’s what we were doing tonight.”
2016-Brighton-JD-12Despite the loss, the Soaring Eagle had some outstanding individual performances: midfielder Chantz Hower was half of JD’s offense, scoring five goals on the night; attackman Sam Burbank had two goals; and Soaring Eagle goalie Sean Edwards kept things close — turning away shots from some of the best shooters in the state.
Apart from Fairman, who ended the game with two goals and five assists, the Bengals got help from attackman Tennison Schmidt (4 goals),  Hunter Albert and Dylan Pearmain (3 goals each), the defensive unit played very well, and face-off specialist Taylor Owens had huge battles at the center X with JD’s Tristan Courtney.
“Taylor Owens at the X tonight for us was awesome,” mentioned Coach Horoba, “We get contributions from all over the place: Houston [Kraenbuhl] played big in goal tonight, our defenders…played really solid for us. We’re pretty fortunate to have a lot of good players all over the field.”
Some highlights of the game included a Bubba Fairman (Brighton) double split-dodge behind cage, causing his defender to fall, a Tristan Courtney (JD) goal, muscling his way through three defenders, an Alec Meyer (JD) question-mark dodge to score with no angle, sneaking the ball between the pipe and keeper’s hip, and Dylan Pearmain catching the ball at midfield in transition, taking it straight down Bengal Boulevard for the score.
Brighton will host Waterford next Wednesday, April 20, and Juan Diego will host No. 4 Park City on Tuesday, April 19.

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