ROCKY RIVER — It was clear Westlake was by the more physical and polished team Sunday night, but Midview — with 10 freshmen in the lineup — had nothing to be ashamed of during a 6-3 loss at the Hamilton Ice Arena.
The only really downside for Midview was the loss of freshman center Jacob Sheetz, who accounted for two of the Middies’ goals.
Sheetz suffered a dislocated collarbone halfway through the third period and is expected to be sidelined for at least four weeks.
“That’s a pretty tough team, a very physical team,” Midview coach Rick Verlotti said. “For as young as we are, I’m very proud of them. I’m not upset at all.”
The game stayed close for more than two periods. Westlake (2-0) broke the game open with goals by Rudy Keppler (7:34) and Chris Humer (9:43) in a span of just over two minutes in the third period.
“We came out a little slow,” Westlake senior defenseman Adam Sandor said. “I don’t think we were ready for their speed. Midview’s a very talented team.
After they scored, it woke us back up. We brought our ‘A’ game for the rest of the night.”
Midview (0-1) has gotten the best of Westlake the last three years — winning two out of three matches, including a 7-2 rout last year. Sunday night was different, however, as the Demons rang up a 39-21 shot advantage.
“We tend to be a team that gets a lot of penalties, but tonight we managed to kill them off,” Sandor said. “We got better with the quicker shifts and better passes. Each time they scored we knew right away we had to get our momentum back and that’s what
Westlake was coming off a 5-3 win over Brecksville on Friday night in its season opener at North Olmsted.
“They were doing things faster than what our kids were use to,” Verlotti said. “When you do that, you’re going to make mistakes, you’re going to turn the puck over and that’s what we did.”
Westlake moved up to the Greater Cleveland High School Hockey League’s Red South Division this season, up from the GCHSHL White West. The Demons finished 22-9 last year. Midview was 16-13-1 and returned to the Blue West.
“I wanted to play some tougher competition and that’s what we got to see,” Verlotti said. “There are some things we need to work on, but overall I’m not upset at all.”
Sheetz gave Midview its only lead of the night, scoring on the Middies’ first shot of the game at 1:18 of the first period for a 1-0 lead.
Westlake answered with goals by senior Alex Miller (7:32) and Humer (8:34).
Sandor scored Westlake’s third goal of the game off a power play in the second period at 2:34. Sandor caught a big break when Keppler’s shot struck the crossbar and came straight down in front of the goal, and he knocked it past Midview freshman goalie Logan Perkins.
The teams traded the next four goals.
Freshman Jake Behler scored on a one-on-one breakaway for Midview at 6:36 of the second. Miller answered 58 seconds later to push the Demons’ lead back to two.
Sheetz came back for Midview with his second goal off assists from Behler and freshman Tommy Coon at 13:19 of the second. Midview still had a shot at winning before Keppler and Humer added their third-period goals.
“Every time Midview took an opportunity to score, we kind of had an answer,” Westlake coach John Duke said. “We played a very disciplined third period. I think we closed it well.”
Contact Paul Heyse at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Westlake 6, Midview 3
FIRST PERIOD: 1. (M) Jacob Sheetz (Jake Behler, Tommy Coon), 1:18. 1. (W) Alex Miller (Nate Greenberg), 7:32. 2. (W) Chris Humer (Max Prexta, Adam Sandor), 8:34. Penalties – (M) too many players on the ice, served by Carl Fischer, 3:35. (W). Paul Freedman (head contact), 12:38.
SECOND PERIOD: 3. (W) Sandor (Keppler, Humer), 2:34 – power play. 2. (M) Behler (unassisted), 6:36. 4. (W) Miller (Greenberg, Nabil Johnson), 7:34. 3. (M) Sheetz (Behler, Coon), 13:19. Penalties: - (M) Kyle Kudela (boarding), 1:07. (W) Johnson (boarding), 9:43. (W) Keppler (roughing), 11:11.
THIRD PERIOD: 5. (W) Keppler (Humer, Freedman), 4:35. 6. (W) Humer (Freedman, Keppler), 8:18 – power play. Penalties: (W) Prexta (slashing), 3:02. (M) Jacob Hack (roughing), 3:02. (M) Mackie Eichenlaub (hooking), 7:27. (W) Johnson (hooking), 11:14.
Midview 1 2 0 — 3
Westlake 2 2 2 — 6
Shots on goal: Midview 7-8-6—21, Westlake 13-14-12—39. Goalies: (M) Logan Perkins (39 shots, 33 saves); (W) Joe Guay (21 shots, 18 saves). Power-play opportunities: Midview 0-3, Westlake 2-3.