By Jim Smith | Correspondent
Going back to the final two periods of last Saturday night's game, and through the first two periods of play on Thursday evening, Kent Roosevelt's ice hockey team did not score a goal.
Within a 28-second span of the third period, the Rough Riders ended that drought on their way to a 2-0 victory over league rival Chagrin Falls at the Kent State University Ice Arena.
Roosevelt's offense struggled in the first 30 minutes of play as the Tigers held the Riders to only eight shots on goal during that time.
"Chagrin Falls played a nice game tonight. It's a good team, with good players fighting for a victory," said Roosevelt coach Ben Barlow. "We did what we had to do in not making the critical mistake."
While generating "virtually no offense" after two periods according to Barlow, the Riders' defense held Chagrin Falls scoreless as well.
"Mitch Fisher (defenseman) played a dynamite game for us," said Barlow. "He was real steady with the puck and probably stopped 6-to-7 odd-man rushes by himself."
Good goaltending -- including a penalty-shot save -- by junior goalie Nate Grootegoed was also critical to the Rough Riders' success as he stopped all 21 shots that he faced in the contest.
After making some offensive adjustments to Chagrin's trapping defense, the Riders exploded for two quick goals near the midway point of the third period.
Senior captain Kyle Manning scored the first goal at 8:33 of the final period with an assist from Okko Boger.
At 8:05, junior Dontae Montemayor, with assists from Manning and Gordie Fisher, tallied the second and final goal of the contest.
"It was a well-played game by both sides," said Barlow. "In a tightly contested game like this, it's just that one opportunity that makes the difference in the game. It just so happened that in 28 seconds -- because of our hard work -- we were able to spring two pucks on net.
"It was a teachable moment to stay within ourselves, never panic, play as hard as you can and stay true to the systems and create opportunities."
BLUE LINE NOTES
n The Chagrin game was Roosevelt's third league game within a week. With Thursday's win, the Riders move into an early-season three-way tie for first place with CVCA and Kenston.
n Multi-tasking Dontae Montemayor missed the first period of Thursday's game. He is also a member of the Kent Roosevelt band and performed in a concert prior to arriving in time to score the second Roosevelt goal of the game in the third period.
n The Rough Riders play tonight at 8 p.m. against the Hudson Explorers at the Kent State University Ice Arena, and again on Sunday at 5 p.m. at the Gilmour Academy Ice Arena against league foe Solon.
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