Berkley-Ferndale Unified hockey team wraps up memorable season
Published March 6, 2012
The hard reality set in quickly, and then was repeated often.
Jeff Fleming had no problem admitting that.
In the end, his team was outdone by one that was simply better.
He was quick to admit that, too.
Though his Berkley-Ferndale Unified hockey team had fallen 8-0 to Orchard Lake St. Mary’s March 3 in a Division 1 regional final, he recalled the season that was and was filled with pride.
“This was a fantastic season,” he said. “I’m so proud of the seniors and the guys who have set the bar so high here. They’ve left a great example for the future kids in this program.”
Berkley closed out the regular season with a 20-2-2 overall record and won the Oakland Activities Association White Division with a 10-0-0 mark.
After wins against Bloomfield Hills United and Troy High in the playoffs, the 22-3-2 final record marked the best in Unified program history.
“We’d never won a pre-regional game before this year.” Fleming said with a laugh. “For this group to go undefeated in away games, to win the league, to win some of the tournaments we played in, it all added up to a pretty special season. These kids really did some great things.”
Naturally, Fleming would have preferred a different exit from the postseason.
St. Mary’s scored 25 seconds into the regional final and led 2-0 before many in the crowd had a chance to find their seat.
“They scored right away, and it seemed to set us back,” Fleming said.
Still, an 8-0 loss or a 1-0 triple-overtime setback, nothing was going to change how the coach saw his guys and what they did.
“The effort was awesome all season,” Fleming added. “We fought to the end. That’s all I can ask.”