September 18, 2014

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Baron Cup: Olmsted Falls’ rally not enough

Olmsted Falls' Steve Wilks and West Geauga's Tom Karlsson battle for control of the puck as Wilks skates toward the goal. KRISTIN BAUER | CHRONICLE

Olmsted Falls’ Steve Wilks and West Geauga’s Tom Karlsson battle for control of the puck as Wilks skates toward the goal. KRISTIN BAUER | CHRONICLE

BROOKLYN — Olmsted Falls put together a furious third-period rally in its Baron Cup III semifinal against Blue East champion West Geauga, but it just wasn’t enough. The Bulldogs fell 4-3 Saturday afternoon at the Brooklyn Recreation Center.

“The main thing we took away was our heart in the third period,” Bulldogs coach Brett Thompson said. “They were already looking ahead to tomorrow during the third period, we weren’t going to let them go without a fight.”

The teams did not play during the regular season and the physical nature and size of West Geauga may have caught the Bulldogs (20-8) by surprise. The Wolverines came out with an 11-7 advantage in shots on goal and a 1-0 lead after the first period.

The Wolverines (16-3-1) scored at the 11:47 mark of the first when Tate Georgevitch came up with a loose puck in the neutral zone, split a pair of defenders with a nifty crossover step and beat Zach Snyder for the lead.

The Wolverines rough style of play caught up with Olmsted Falls in the second period when the Bulldogs were called for cross-checking, slashing and high-sticking within 20 seconds.

Despite being on the power play for several minutes with either a one- or two-man advantage, West Geauga only added one score. Tom Karlsson got the first of his two goals with 10:45 on the second-period clock for a 2-0 lead.

Olmsted Falls got back in the game at 2-1 when Steven Wilks scored short-handed (18th goal of the year) after the Bulldogs’ fourth penalty of the period, going top-shelf on goalie Brenden Judson at 8:24.

West Geauga killed off a penalty of its own, its third of the period, and then got some breathing room with Karlsson’s second score at 3:51. A goal from Bobby Kelly two minutes later gave the Wolverines a commanding 4-1 lead going to the third.

“We came out pretty hard and played a good first period,” Olmsted Falls senior Jacob Norman said. “We started to slow down in the second period — we didn’t have as much momentum as we wanted — and that’s what got them up three goals.”

The Wolverines had kept Norman and his 61 goals in check through the first two periods, but that all changed when he scored at 13:43 to cut the lead to 4-2 with 13:43 left in regulation.

“We told the kids that we needed a goal in the first five minutes and we got it from Jake,” Thompson said. “From there we just kept up the pressure.”

The Bulldogs certainly did, but it wasn’t until the final two minutes when they pulled their goalie that the pressure resulted in a score.

Wilks finished off a mad scramble in front of the net, jamming the puck across the line just as an official had blown his whistle with 1:15 left. After a brief conference, the goal counted and the Bulldogs were down by one goal.

Norman had a couple of chances after the ensuing faceoff, but each shot was turned away by Judson to preserve the win for the Wolverines.

“That was a physical, hard battle, that was fun, that’s hockey,” West Geauga coach Dan Gilliam said. “We knew they were a very good team. They are very disciplined, run some great systems and they go hard.”

The season is not over for the Bulldogs, as they will face Parma in the sectional tournament Monday at 8 p.m.

Contact James Brady at 329-7135 or jbrady_ct@yahoo.com.

West Geauga 4, Olmsted Falls 3

FIRST PERIOD: (WG) Tate Georgevitch (unassisted), 11:47. Penalties: (WG) Skyler Rossbach (tripping), 5:44, (OF) Joey Egan (tripping), 2:56.

SECOND PERIOD: (WG) Tom Karlsson (unassisted), PP, 10:45, (OF) Steven Wilks (Jacob Norman), SH, 8:24, (WG) Karlsson (James Kern, Zach McGuire), 3:51, (WG) Bobby Kelly (Kern, Karlsson). Penalties: (WG) Blake Gruly (slashing), 12:50, (OF) Mark Schindler (cross-check), 12:08, (OF) Egan (slashing), 11:56, (OF) Norman (high-sticking), 11:48, (WG) Georgevitch (cross-checking), 11:03, (OF) Schindler (tripping), 8:51, (WG) Blake Gruly (high-sticking), 6:32.

THIRD PERIOD: (OF) Jacob Norman (Braden Wertman, Mark Schindler), 13:43, (OF) Wilks (unassisted), 1:15. Penalties: (OF) Schindler (tripping), 12:21.

West Geauga 1 3 0 — 4

Olmsted Falls 0 1 2 — 3

Shots on goal: West Geauga 33 (11-14-8), Olmsted Falls 26 (7-10-9). Goalies: (WG) Brenden Judson (26 shots, 23 saves), (OF) Zach Snyder (33 shots, 29 saves). Power-play opportunities: Olmsted Falls 0-4, West Geauga 1-6.