The Kenston Bombers’ hockey team’s heads were still spinning after playing the Amherst Comets. Kenston opened play at the Parma Invitational by losing 7-0 to Amherst last Sunday afternoon at the Michael A. Ries Ice Rink.
“There’s definitely a reason why Amherst has won the Baron Cup the last four years straight,” said Coach Tom Moores. “We definitely got shown that. They’re definitely on a different level than us. I think we held our own. Overall it was disappointing but it was also encouraging.”
Kenston’s (6-7-2, 3-3-0) roster was a little thin as they were missing six players. Five of the six were offensive players which meant the Bombers were missing at least one line.
Amherst jumped ahead 1-0 in the first period when senior forward Joey Kramer scored at the 6:30 mark off assists from junior forward Nick Ciura and sophomore defenseman Gavyn Cumberledge.
According to Moores, the Comets put on a clinic in puck movement to confuse Kenston’s defense.
Amherst struck again near the end of the opening period when Kramer scored another goal with only 00:12 seconds remaining off an assist from Ciura and held a 2-0 edge. The Comets were relentless, recording 12 shots on goal in the first period.
“The first period we were standing around and watching Amherst quite a bit there,” admitted the three-year coach. “Amherst a much quicker team than we are.”
Kenston’s offense struggled and recorded only one shot on goal during the first period. Moores noted that Amherst’s defense did a good job smothering the Bombers.
The lack of depth started showing in the second period. Although Kenston still had its leading scorers on the ice, it had no one on the bench to spell relief for them.
“After the first period we were running around so much until we made some adjustments,”Moores said. “All of our players were so tired trying to chase Amherst around especially after that first period.”
The Bombers played zone defense in the second period to try and shut down the passing lanes. Moores said the strategy proved effective as the Comets’ offense was quiet during the first half of the second period.
Kenston’s defense could only slow down the Comets for so long. Bombers’ freshman forward Gavin Rowell earned a trip to the penalty box when he was whistled for roughing.
Kramer converted the power play with his third goal of the game when he scored off assists from Ciura and junior defensemen Logan Eicher which extended the lead to 3-0 with 5:47 remaining in the second period.
Ciura then joined in on the action by scoring his first goal of the game off assists from Kramer and senior forward Thomas Hall at the 4:49 mark to extend Amherst’s lead to 4-0.
The Comets turned the game into a blowout when Hall found the back of the net off assists from Kramer and Ciura to push Amherst ahead 5-0 with 3:04 left in the second period.
The Comets’ offense continued peppering Kenston sophomore goalie Owen Masson with 10 shots at the net in the second period while the Bombers mustered only three.
Amherst scored two more goals in the final period and limited the Bombers to seven shots on goal during the game.
“Amherst is such a puck-controlling team that when you do get opportunities you have to be able to capitalize,” said Moores. “But we weren’t able to do that.”
It marked the second shutout loss for Kenston. The Bombers have not scored a goal since the final period in their victory against Bishop Watterson on Dec. 18.
Moores is not ready to sound the alarm yet. Kenston opened its season playing against Stow Munroe-Falls and Amherst, two of the toughest teams in Northern Ohio.
Moores believes that the Bombers’ experience against those teams will serve Kenston well once it resumes league play in Greater Cleveland High School Hockey League White East Division.
“I see more opportunities for success coming up in the near future in our divisional games and our non-league games that we have,” he said. “That will be the true test for us and apply what we’ve learned over these hard games.”
After GCHSHL White East foe Kent Roosevelt forfeited the game on Dec. 27, Kenton turned things around by defeating St. Edward’s Green Team 4-3 on in the consolation championsip, resulting in a third place finish to move to 8-7-2 (4-3-0) on the year.
The Bombers will open their New Year by hosting GCHSHL White East Division rival Aurora at the The Pond on Jan. 7 at 9 p.m.