Fans arriving late to Kenston's hockey match against Cleveland Hts. over the weekend missed all the offense.
Just 93 seconds into the first period, the Bombers' Alex Petre scored on a right-handed slap shot past the Tigers goalie and it seemed Kenston was off and running.
But it was a defensive effort that won the day. Despite outshooting Cleveland Hts. 21-6 through the first two periods, the Bombers' strong penalty kill, even staving off two five-on-three situations, was the team's strength. Final was 2-0 on a late Zack Kinney empty-net goal, putting the Bombers at .500 for the season.
"We were lucky to win tonight," said coach Tom Beard in his first season leading the Bombers. Beard said the Tigers looked tired after beating C.V.C.A the night before. "They are a good team, very well coached. And we survived by the skin of our teeth. The thing we worked on last week was defensive zone. Unfortunately, we got too much experience there at the end of the game. Right now we're playing selfish hockey, but a win is a win. We'll take it."
Kenston goalie Jimmy Sciortino pitched a shutout despite some strong opportunities by the Tigers' Trey Hopkins. With Kinney running the defense and finding teammates, the Bombers had just the right mix to come away with the win.
Beard moved Cooper Nash from defenseman to left wing in the lineup, which paid immediate dividends, with Nash finding Petre for that opening goal assist.
Also, Pat Lyons has moved to forward. Lyons was a senior leader, Beard said, and after consulting with former coach Jim Revak, he decided Lyons could thrive in the position.
"We came in, and we knew they were going to be a tough team," said Lyons. "And it's a credit to our defense. We've been working on our defensive zone in preparation for this weekend."
Lyons found himself in the penalty box three times in the game. One assistant coach asked Lyons how it felt inside the box. "It was very roomy, very, very roomy," he said without smiling. "I spend some time in there."
The team's five seniors have had to adjust to coach Beard's program after so many years with Revak.
"It's a good experience," Lyons said. "Mr. Revak had been with us since youth hockey. It's a change not for the positive, not for the negative, but a good change."
"It's been great," Beard said. "We have a great bunch of seniors, and they've worked hard and they've done everything we've asked them to do. Our goal is to compete for a Baron Cup title, and I think we can do that."
Beard had been at University Schools with his brother, Bill, who is still leading the Preppers hockey program. Beard said he still talks with his brother everyday about hockey.
"These kids are hard workers, and having 12 kids is a lot different than having 24, but they work really hard," Beard said.
The Bombers also hope Nick Levine, who has missed time due to a concussion, and Ryan Malik, who is waiting on his eligibility status from the Ohio High School Athletic Association, will join the team soon.
With this game Cleveland Hts. dropped to 9-9-1 on the season in the Blue East. The Greater Cleveland High School Hockey League is broken down into three divisions: the Red being the largest schools, the White in the middle and the Blue Division being the smallest. West Geauga competes in the Blue Division; Kenston competes in the White East Division.
Kenston went on to play a 4-4 tie with Mayfield and a 9-2 win against Benedictine. In the final day, the Bombers again blanked Cleveland Hts., this time 1-0 in a shootout.
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