The 3-2 Bedford High School ice hockey team will host Haverhill at The Edge Sports Center on Hartwell Road Saturday night with an event that transcends the action on the rink. Faceoff is scheduled for 6:40 pm.
The game is an annual tribute to the memory of Ethan Miller, one of the more talented skaters in Bedford hockey annals.
Miller was a four-year varsity Buccaneer, serving as a captain in both his junior and senior years. He graduated in 2015 and died unexpectedly on Jan. 15, 2019. A scholarship is presented to a graduating BHS senior each year in his honor.
Head Coach Brian Seabury said he hopes there is a good turnout for the game, which will feature a Bedford team with a balance of experience and youth.
Through five games, Bedford had two close losses. Wednesday night the IceBucs traveled to Methuen and lost 3-2 to one of the top teams in the league—Methuen has lost only once in seven games. In the season opener, Bedford fell to North Middlesex 3-1; the third goal was shot into an empty net with seconds remaining.
In between, Bedford won three straight games: over Matignon High of Cambridge; Cambridge Rindge & Latin; and a 2-0 victory over Medford. The Medford game was called after one period when it was discovered that the Mustangs’ goaltender was playing with a broken ankle.
Seabury explained that the Mustangs did not have a backup goalie, and had the option of playing six-on-five with an empty net. Instead, they chose to forfeit the rest of the match. “That was probably our best period of the year and a disappointing ending,” Seabury said.
The coach reported that there are 32 players on the varsity and new junior varsity teams, and 17 are freshmen. Eight players dress for the varsity games. “Seventeen freshmen tried out and we kept all of them,” Seabury said. “I can see this class being competitive down the road.”
“We have some seniors we are leaning on early,” the coach continued. Two of them are captains: goalie T.J. Mead, a four-year veteran, and defenseman Ittai Weisman. Chris Woo, the third captain, is a junior forward.
“We are not a high-scoring team. We are defense-oriented,” Seabury remarked. And a lot of the success depends on Mead. “T.J. is a four-year starter and obviously early on he makes up for a lot of mistakes as these guys learn systems.”
Mead is “a big reason” why the team has these wins, the coach said. “Someone like that gives us a little time to get people comfortable. He has been outstanding so far.”
Seabury’s assistant coach is his father Bill; the junior varsity coach is Mike Grassi.
Brian Seabury noted that there are 49 teams statewide in Division 3, and 32 will qualify for the post-season tournament based on power rankings. He noted that Wayland High School dropped hockey for 2021-22 a week before the start of the season.
Mike Rosenberg can be reached at [email protected], or 781-983-1763