Led by the energetic effort of senior captain Kyle Manning, the Kent Roosevelt ice hockey team advanced to the sectional final in the Kent district of the OHSAA state hockey tournament with a 4-1 victory over the Mayfield Wildcats on Sunday afternoon at the Kent State University Ice Arena.
Manning earned three points in the game, scoring two of the Rough Rider goals and earning an assist on another Kent goal.
"Kyle Manning had every bit of five one-on-one's or breakaways. He was all over the place. I think Mayfield had a tough time compensating for Kyle's skill level," said Roosevelt coach Ben Barlow. "His footwork was fantastic tonight. His pressure helped us quite a bit."
Mayfield's lone goal was the game's first, as sophomore Gino Gladkiy, on assists by Mitchell Ford and Joseph Chessar, scored at 11:18 of the first period.
Manning, with a shot hitting the top corner of the net, tied the game at 1-1 four minutes later. Roosevelt defenseman Mitch Fisher earned an assist on the Riders initial score.
"A majority of the game, we did some things right, but for the most part it wasn't our best game. We struggled to string together multiple passes early on. Our back checking could have been more intense. We did control the neutral zone play," stated Barlow.
The game remained tied late into the second period until Manning, after receiving a well-placed pass from Okko Boger, would net his second goal of the game with 1:27 remaining in the middle period.
"The game was quite a nail-biter. It was a real close game until late into the third period when we were finally able to put some distance between us and a good Mayfield team," commented Barlow.
The goals that created that distance were tallied within 32 seconds of one another in the third period.
The first of those quick goals was earned by Kent's Gabe Smith at 5:07, followed by a Scott Rainey goal at 4:35. Gordie Fisher and Manning assisted on the Smith goal, while Lyndon Rainey and Christian Strahan were credited with assists on the Scott Rainey score.
"I think Scott Rainey played an outstanding game. He was able to net that last goal for us.
I watched him all week in practice and he's coming along. I just had a feeling he was poised to have a good game today. I thought he played really well," observed Barlow on his assistant captain's play.
Roosevelt, 21-12-2, will play Hunting Valley University School in the tournament on Saturday, February 23rd at 5:00 PM at Kent State University Ice Arena.
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