By Jim Smith | Special to the record-courier
In hockey, shots on goal are important. But it's the final score that really matters.
After outshooting the CVCA Royals by 18 shots on Saturday at the Kent State University Ice Arena, the Kent Roosevelt Rough Rider hockey team needed overtime in earning a 4-3 victory on the scoreboard in a White East Division matinee game.
Roosevelt's Okko Boger netted the game-winner just 44 seconds into the extra period on assists from Kyle Manning and Gabe Smith.
After a scoreless first period in which each team failed to take advantage of multiple power-play opportunities -- Roosevelt could not capitalize on three extra-man situations and CVCA was unsuccessful on its two power-play chances -- both teams' offensive efforts awakened in the second period as the two league rivals combined for five goals in the period.
"It was a good first period," said Roosevelt cvoach Ben Barlow. "There are some highly skilled players on that team and they can be fun to watch if you're a CVCA fan."
It was those skilled players who allowed CVCA to score first in the contest.
CVCA senior Mark Sunde initiated the game's scoring on an assist from his brother Luke just 41 seconds into the second period.
The Riders responded with two quick goals of their own. The first came on a successful power-play effort by senior Jake Schmauch, and less than a minute later Manning netted the second Rider goal. Smith and Manning earned assists on the Schmauch effort, while junior Scott Rainey aided on the Manning score.
Shortly thereafter, CVCA freshman forward Joshua Polanski, with an assist from Andrew Pruitt, scored to tie the game at 2-2.
Taking advantage of a five-minute power play -- the result of a CVCA major penalty for boarding -- Manning capped the Riders' scoring in regulation play at the 2:13 mark of the second period, providing Kent Roosevelt with a 3-2 lead after 30 minutes of play. Schmauch assisted on the go-ahead goal.
"We have been in a five-minute power-play situation twice this year," said Barlow. "The last time it happened -- unfortunately we couldn't score -- was the Orange game (at The Pond) and that was a tough moment looking back on our season. Our bench was well aware of it, and it was so important to get at least one goal. It took a while -- Kyle was extended out for a long shift -- (but) it was a big goal for us."
As has happened often in the Sunde brothers' impressive high school career, the siblings combined efforts for a third-period goal for CVCA, this time with Luke scoring on an assist from Mark with just over two minutes remaining in the third period, sending the game into overtime.
The Sunde brothers are finishing their high school playing careers with Luke ranked first and Mark second in the OHSAA record books for all-time total points scored in a high school hockey career.
However, Roosevelt's Boger sent the CVCA Senior Day crowd home disappointed after his game-winning goal early in the sudden-death period. The Riders are 4-1-1 in overtime games this season.
"Our kids have become real comfortable in that late-game situation, real confident that we can get the job done," said Barlow.
Roosevelt finishes regular-season play at 18-11-2 and White East Division play at 6-3-1.
BLUE LINE NOTES
n Following the game, nearly 50 Kent City School students participated in a "Try Hockey For Free" event sponsored by the Rough Rider Hockey Boosters. Barlow described the day as a "banner day" for the Rough Riders program, citing a big victory for his team followed by a united effort of current and former players, coaches, boosters and Tri-County Cyclones coaches making the postgame event a tremendous success. "I can't be more proud of our entire organization," said Barlow.
n With the win, the Rough Riders earned the fourth seed in the GCHSHL Baron Cup and will begin play in that postseason tournament at the Brooklyn Ice Arena on Monday night.
n Follow Jim Smith on twitter @bluelinenotes