BROOKLYN — This is not how it was supposed to end.
It took five years for Elyria Catholic to get back to the Baron Cup tournament and all looked good after the Panthers held a 2-0 after 15 minutes of play.
But the Panthers’ offensive pressure disappeared in the second period and they were their own worst enemy with penalties. Kent Roosevelt took advantage of those lapses and score three times in just over three minutes en route to a 4-2 Baron Cup II win at the Brooklyn Recreation Center.
Kent Roosevelt (19-11-2) moves on to face a Solon team that stunned top-seeded Amherst in the previous game Monday night.
“We played a good first period and the first half of the second period,” Panthers coach Rick Montgomery said after his team fell to 13-10. “We tried to conserve a little energy with the lead, playing a 1-3-1, and all of a sudden we got undisciplined.
“We talked all year long about keeping our composure and we had guys tripping other guys, checking-from-behind penalties, and that set the tone for the rest of the game. We have to play five-on-five hockey to be successful.”
It looked like the stars were aligned for EC when Jeremy Ng won the opening faceoff and the puck went right to Colin Lester, who ripped a shot from near the blue line that beat Nate Grantegoed just six seconds into the game for a wicked-quick 1-0 lead.
The Panthers skated with Kent through the period, keeping their lightning-fast foes off balance.
Elyria Catholic’s offensive pressure finally paid off with 2:27 left in the first period after the Roughriders Kyle Manning was called for a roughing penalty.
Stephen Donat took just nine seconds to take advantage of the power play, scoring off a David Kukucka assist for a 2-0 lead that carried into the second period.
The Panthers kept the Roughriders off the board until Okko Boger knocked the puck off the post and into the net at the 7:04 mark of the second period.
Kent Roosevelt scored two more times when Matt Morniella slapped home a shot at 5:13 and Gordie Fisher scored on a power play when Will Gentry was called for a dubious double-penalty for hooking and roughing while on a breakaway.
Despite the three-goal flurry, the Panthers were only down one and it looked like they would escape the period with no further damage until Jack Walter drew a game-misconduct check-from-behind call with 19 seconds left.
Elyria Catholic killed a majority of the penalty until the Roughriders’ Scott Rainey scored at 11:54 for a two-goal lead.
Elyria Catholic’s chances were limited the rest of the way until Roosevelt’s Jake Schmauch was called for a trip with 5:41 left in regulation.
The Panthers kept possession during the power play, firing off four shots on goal, but each was turned away to keep EC down 4-2. The Panthers finally pulled their goalie with 1:20 left to play.
But they just could not get the puck into the net despite a couple of open shots, one that found a defenders leg and the other that hit the goalie in the back of the head.
“The power play killed us,” Mongomery said. “I’ve preached about discipline all season long and we did things that we have not done all year long. The kids worked hard to get here and they earned their spot in the tournament.”
Contact James Brady at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kent Roosevelt 4, Elyria Catholic 2
FIRST PERIOD: (EC) Colin Lester (Jeremy Ng), 14:54, (EC) Donat (David Kukucka) PP, 2:27. Penalties — (EC) Donat (checking from behind), 0:17, (KR) Christian Strahan (checking from behind), 0:17.
SECOND PERIOD: (KR) Okko Bogof (Gabe Smith), 7:04, (KR) Matt Morniella (Lyndon Rainey, 5:13, (KR) Gordie Fisher (Bogof, Mitch Fisher) PP, 3:58. Penalties — (EC) Paul Demer (tripping), 3:58, (EC) Will Gentry (hooking, roughing), 2:40, (EC) Jack Walter (5:00 check from behind) DQ, 0:19.
THIRD PERIOD: (KR) Scott Rainey (Kyle Manning, Boger) PP, 11:54. Penalties — (KR) Jake Schumauch (tripping), 5:41.
Elyria Catholic 2 0 0 — 2
Kent Roosevelt 0 3 1 — 4
Shots on goal: Elyria Catholic 21 (11-4-6), Kent Roosevelt 30
(8-11-11). Goalies: (EC) Luke Farmer (30 shots, 26 saves), (KR) Nate Grootegoed (21 shots, 19 saves). Power-play opportunities: Elyria Catholic 1-3, Kent Roosevelt 2-3.