By Jim Smith | Special to the Record-Courier
Kent Roosevelt's ice hockey team completed a stretch of nine games in as many days with a 6-4 victory over tournament host Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy in the CVCA Christmas Tournament on Friday afternoon at the Kent State University Ice Arena.
The Rough Riders jumped out to an early 2-0 lead on first-period scoring efforts by junior Gordie Fisher on a power play and senior Jake Schmauch.
Gabe Smith and Kyle Manning assisted on the initial Kent goal, while Matt Marniella assisted on the second.
"We came out on a hot start and played extremely well in the first period," said Roosevelt coach Ben Barlow.
Roosevelt's Scott Rainey, with another assist from Manning, gave the Rough Riders a 3-0 lead with a 5-on-3 power-play tally at the 10:25 mark of the second period.
However, CVCA rallied in that period to score the next three goals in just under a four-minute span of time.
CVCA senior Will Anderson initiated the Royals' rally, with an assist from Luke Sunde, with 6:51 remaining in the middle period on a power-play goal.
Following his assist effort, Luke Sunde proceeded to score the next two CVCA goals, tying the game at 3-3.
Assists on Luke Sunde's first goal were credited to Joshua Polanski and Mark Sunde.
Luke Sunde's second goal was an unassisted short-handed score.
"In the second period they scored a couple of highlight goals. Sometimes you have to tip your cap to a kid for making a great play. Luke Sunde is quite the player," said Barlow.
With less than two minutes remaining in the second period, with Roosevelt on the power play, Smith regained the lead for the Rough Riders at 4-3 as Manning earned his third assist of the contest.
Luke Sunde tied the game again early in the third period with his third goal of the night. His brother, Mark Sunde, again assisted on the score that drew CVCA even at 4-4.
Once again, though, Smith answered with a goal to put the Rough Riders back on top 5-4 with 7:42 remaining in the final period. Okko Boger assisted on that game-winning goal.
While Smith's goal put the Riders in position to win the game, it was Manning's terrific back-handed goal that provided Roosevelt faithful a sigh of relief, giving Kent a 6-4 margin with just over two minutes to play.
"We finished the tournament strong. This was a good way to finish and I am real proud of the boys," said an elated Barlow.
BLUE LINE NOTES
• Apologies to senior Jake Schmauch and his family, as I have referred to him as a junior in several articles.
• The Rough Riders begin another busy stretch of hockey on Thursday, Jan. 3 when they host Kenston in a GCHSHL White East Division game at 7:15 p.m. at the KSU Ice Arena. Kent will then play Saturday, Jan. 5 at North Canton and Sunday, Jan. 6 at The Pond in Auburn Township against league foe Orange.
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