After a closer than usual game against the No. 6 team in the state, Park City, on Tuesday, having Corner Canyon and their talented fluid offense coming in seemed like it could turn Brighton’s final game of the season into a close-fought battle against the No. 3 ranked Chargers. The first quarter of the game went along that route, but the Bengals pulled away in the last three quarters of the game thanks to a sweltering defense that led Brighton to an impressive 13-7 win.
The Bengals came out right from the beginning with a pressure defense and fought hard to create turnovers and really seemed to get Corner Canyon out of its comfort zone. Corner Canyon’s defense, in turn, came out extremely strong and caused a lot of problems for Brighton.
To get things started, Dylan Pearmain was able to get a force a turnover while Corner Canyon was in transition. He pushed the fast break and found Bubba Fairman on the crease for the finish. Soon after, the Chargers’ Max Franckowiak got open on crease to even the score at 1-1. A little later in the quarter, Bubba Fairman attempted to drive up from X but was unable to find any space after some great one on one defense by Corner Canyon; he was able to slip a pass in to Hunter Albert with some space on crease and was able to zip a shot right past the keeper. At end of the 1st quarter, the score was 2-1 in favor of Brighton. It had been a tough defensive fight, both teams had good possessions and shots, but almost every shot had been well defended — making them easy for the keepers to save. It gave the feeling that we were in for a tight defensive game that was going to come down to the wire.
At the start of the 2nd quarter, Brighton’s Hunter Albert started low on the right side making an incredible fake pass, getting his defender and the two other closest defenders to search for the ball in the opposite direction. He then sprinted towards goal and had a 1 on 1 with the goalie and finished off the impressive play with a high shot to the top right of the goal. Three more consecutive goals by Brighton found Corner Canyon in a 6-1 hole towards the end of the first half. Two quick penalties against Brighton, one of which was a two-minute non-releasable, looked like a big opportunity for Corner Canyon to get some goals and momentum to take into halftime. Some tough man-down defense by Brighton and a great save by Canyon Curtis, mixed with some attempted time consuming clears by Brighton, and the man up opportunity ended with nothing to show for the Chargers — except one of their own players headed to the penalty box to give Brighton a man-up chance to close the half. Brighton’s Miles Paulsen was able to find Tennison Schmidt open, who was able to finish it off to take advantage of the man up play. Brighton took a 7-1 lead into halftime. Brighton’s Defense had just been stifling — Corner Canyon had been unable to get anything going against them. Brighton had also had some very impressive offensive sets against Corner Canyon’s set defense.
Myles Paulsen started things off out of the break with a great individual effort, running up from X with two players wrapped around him he was able to get his hands free and send a shot in past the keeper for another Bengal score. After that, Corner Canyon really turned up the intensity — Max Franckowiak got open on crease again to break the Chargers out of their scoring slump. Franckowiak then was able to push hard up from X and find Jason Adams open at the top of the box who was able to bury a rip for Corner Canyon and make it 8-3 Brighton. The Chargers then had a would-be goal waived off due to a time out taken right before the shot, which would have made it 8-4 going into the 4th quarter. The Chargers looked much sharper in the second half, finally being able to get things going with their offense and get some good-looking possessions.
The 4th quarter became much more contested with both teams able to maintain good possessions and some great goals. Bubba Fairman and Dylan Pearmain were able to pull off a little hidden-ball trick at the top right corner of the box, with Pearmain taking the ball and both defenders following Bubba, Pearmain was able to get a 1 on 1 against the keeper and finished it low for the Bengals. Kyle Reaveley scooped up the ground ball for Corner Canyon off the face off and was able to push for a fast break; no slide came as Brighton seemed to figure the long pole would pass it off, but Reaveley ripped a hard bounce shot in past the keeper to make the score 13-6. Soon after Davis Zwicky was able to find Hunter Pehrson open on crease at the end of the game for Corner Canyon. Making the final score Brighton 13 Corner Canyon 7.
Charger Coach Mark Davis on the game: “They’re a very good team. There’s a reason why they are ranked #1. Their defense is very good, but we also made a lot of little mistakes that we can’t against a team like this and expect to win. I think we did pretty good against them with our set defense and at times showed we can get things done against them on offense. We just have to be able to do what we did in the 4th quarter for the whole game.”
Coach Brandon Horoba on stopping Corner Canyon’s offense: “We’ve got a great defense. I think the three best defenders in the state, and they help a lot. Making up for any mistake our middies might make.” On the focus going into the playoffs: “The big things will be working on face off’s and offensive consistency, and cleaning up a few things on defense.”
With such a decisive win against one of the best teams in the state, it should certainly be seen as a statement heading into the playoffs. Brighton is hungry and has the players to beat anyone for all 4 quarters. All eyes should be on them as the favorites to take home the championship. Coincidentally, the championship game is scheduled to be played at their home field.
Brighton’s next game will be in the playoffs so opponent is TBD. Corner Canyon closes out the season at underrated and dangerous Alta on Tuesday night.