It’s the start of a two-week blitz for high school hockey in the Summit City. Next Saturday we crown a City Champion but for now, we still have some unfinished business to sort out in the regular season, and Wednesday that focused primarily on our first game between Homestead and the Vipers.
Homestead 4, Vipers 2
Third place in the standings was on the line in the first game. A Vipers win would seal the third seed in the Memorial Cup Playoffs for them as they held the tiebreaker over Homestead. For the Spartans, a win would go a long way in getting them that seed but wouldn’t officially clinch it, they’d have to wait until Saturday to lock it up. The Vipers had the better of the play for the first few minutes and it eventually yielded a goal. On a power play, Michael Scully collected a cross-seam pass with his skate and then fired it toward the net looking for a redirect. There was a little cluster in front and Logan Ormsby was able to push the puck in. Homestead got the goal back quickly. From just above the goal line Aiden Byler roofed a shot over the shoulder of Ben Marques just 44 seconds after the Ormsby goal. Homestead pulled in front after Drew Brimner scored on a rebound, aided by Marques being tied up a little bit with a teammate. The goal was assisted by Byler after he almost went right over Marques’s shoulder again from the same spot he scored from.
Cole Strick extended the lead for Homestead 4:35 into the second period off a quick wrister from the right wall. Gavin Elkins made it a three-goal lead with a power play goal. Brimner won the faceoff right to Elkins who made a couple quick stick handles and wristed one home from the right point just seven seconds into the power play. Despite their three-goal lead, the Vipers had controlled the puck for the majority of the game to that point which was reflected in the shots on goal tally, 23-12 in favor of the Vipers through 30 minutes of play. Things tightened up a bit in the third period outside of the penalties. A slew of penalties overlapped each other over the course of the final ten minutes. A tripping penalty to Carson Whitaker started it off and then the Vipers cut their own power play short when Ormsby was booked for a slashing penalty. Just five seconds after Ormsby stepped out of the penalty box, Homestead was hit with another penalty, this time a rough on Byler. Lucky for Homestead, the Vipers shot themselves in the foot again when Scully went to the box for tripping 1:14 into the power play. Then Homestead returned the favor with a slash to Andrew Litwinko, leaving a brief 4-on-3 power play for the Vipers and shortly thereafter Marques was pulled for the extra attacker. Homestead was able to kill off those penalties but another slashing penalty to Litwinko brought a 6-on-4 power play for the Vipers and Jackson Bertels was able to convert but with only :58 to go, it was all but over and in the end Homestead pulled out a 4-2 win, backstopped by 32 saves from Connor Gould.
Carroll 5, Leo 1
Coming off the close call last week against Homestead the Chargers made sure to be more comfortable with their win this week. In keeping with the latest trend, the teams traded their first goals of the game. Carroll was up to bat first. The Lions turned it over into the slot where Dylan Braun skated into the puck and was stopped by Baumert but Camden Shurek was in the right spot to cleanup the rebound that squeaked past Andrew Baumert. Dylan Davis scored for Leo just 19 seconds as a swarm of Lions hounded Braun who was the last man back on the blue line. Davis was able to knock the puck free and had enough speed to outrace Braun back down the ice. Braun made a similar play going back the other way to get Carroll back in front with 3:58 to play in the first period. While shorthanded, Braun got past the Leo defense at the blue line and was too fast for Davis to catch, allowing Braun to make a slick move and tuck the puck in on the backhand.
The Chargers kept the backhanders coming on their next goal. Braun got in the offensive zone and slid a pass to Brody Burge who was all on his lonesome due to a poorly timed line change for Leo. Like Braun before him, Burge went forehand-backhand for the goal. 2:02 later Finn Cupp scored a power-play goal to give Carroll a 4-1 lead with 5:17 left in the second period that would stand through the intermission. Cupp added his second power-play goal of the night in the third period with a nice assist from Carter Gnau. Carroll took care of business the rest of the period and outshot Leo by a 10-2 margin, making it a game total of 33-18 in the 5-1 win.
Week 15 Predictions
Last Week: 2-0
This Season: 22-6
Perfect Scores: 2/28
Carroll 6, Vipers 3
Not quite as high scoring as the last meeting between these two but still a good number of goals for both sides to wrap up the regular season and celebrate their 14 combined Seniors.
Homestead 5, Leo 2
Homestead is absolutely rolling right and Leo is not doing that. The third seed still being up for grabs will give Homestead a little extra motivation on top of that.