Shots took every possible path around or over the goal for the first 54 minutes of Hickman and Rock Bridge’s game .
The Bruins beat the Kewpies 2-0 on Wednesday at Cosmopolitan Park with Michael Ferguson breaking the drought in the 55th minute with his 21st goal of the season.
The Bruins improved to 13-1-2 and Hickman fell to 6-5-2.
The Kewpies threatened to score first on a pair of drives deep in Rock Bridge territory after Michael Washington found his way through defenders in the first 15 minutes. He failed to test Bruins’ Tanner Mills with a shot.
Washington opted to pass it wide to Jay Johnson instead of shooting on goal.
“As soon as I passed it off, coach was telling me I should have shot,” Washington said.
Rock Bridge coach David Graham, said sometimes his team lacks focus at the start of games but was happy his team recovered from their early lapses that gave Washington opportunities.
“At the beginning of games sometimes you need to have little reality check and he gave us one,” Graham said. “I think we responded really well.”
The Bruins had an opportunity in the 27th minute when senior Kyle Reznicek’s shot hit off the cross bar but Kewpies’ goalkeeper Drew Huckla recovered on the Bruins rebound opportunity.
“I just made a cut across the middle and I saw the keeper come off his line and I thought I could beat him with a chip,” Reznicek said. “Drew’s a great keeper, he got back and knocked it out on the follow up.”
In the 35th minute, Kewpies forward Jay Johnson received a cross from the right side of the field from Travis Tegerdine but his redirect went over the crossbar.
“I just barely missed,” Johnson said.
The Bruins had the final scoring opportunity in the first half when Ferguson’s shot hit the left post in the 37th minute.
After a scoreless first half, the second half offered yet another near goal when Reznicek’s shot hit off the left cross bar two minutes into play.
“Since their defense was dropping back so much our coach was telling us to keep hitting them,” Reznicek said. “So I just put a shot up off of the left post and it just hit the post and didn’t go the right way. Another inch and it might have went in.”
Luck finally turned the Bruins’ way when Ferguson’s shot landed inside of the right post into the net, giving the Bruins a 1-0 lead.
“(The Bruins’ David) Bucko hit a shot and it hit off the defenders head and it came right down to my chest, and I one touched it,” Ferguson said.
Kewpies forward Jay Johnson said he thought the turning point would be who scored first.
“Getting the first goal in a game like that is a huge advantage,” Johnson said. “We need to learn how to respond when the other team scores first.”
The Bruins got their second goal with a few minutes left to play when junior Sam Branham scored off of Adam Reed’s corner kick. It was Branham’s first goal of the season.
The Bruins dominated possession in the second half, posting six shots on goal to Hickman’s none. The Bruins also had four corner kicks while allowing the Kewpies one.
Graham credits his seniors for their improved play in the second half.
“We have 16 seniors and at halftime the seniors said, ‘Hey listen lets do what we do best and take care of ourselves.’”
After a busy first half in the Bruins end, Washington saw his opportunities decline in the second half because of Rock Bridge’s ball control.
“I think we broke down mentally as a team,” Washington said. “We just let it get to our head and they took the opportunities we gave them. They have really good team chemistry. They know where everyone is on the field.”
The Bruins’ victory puts them ahead of Hickman for the No. 1 seed in districts but Graham realizes his team still has work to do.
“It’s nice to beat Hickman because they beat Jefferson City, so we kind of felt that it gives us as good a shot at the No. 1 seed as anybody but we still have to beat a very good Helias team,” Graham said. “It’s going to be a dog fight.”