Ever since the Orange Lions boys hockey team got back on the ice they have had to play from behind in most of their games. It has been a good sign of the team’s resiliency that they’ve rallied to victory in those contests. The team knows how to knuckle down in clutch time.
While the team has been at its best during the third period head coach Mike Teplitzky has stressed the importance of playing a complete game. It has not been a bad thing to consistently mount comebacks but the team’s yet to have a game where they’ve had offensive flow through all three periods. Orange finally had that game on Jan. 16 as it routed the Solon Comets by a 7-1 margin at Floyd E. Stefanski Ice Center in Gates Mills last Saturday afternoon.
It was the second meeting between the two teams in less than a week as Orange played host to Solon on Jan. 6 on route to a 5-4 victory this past Saturday. It had been a competitive game as Solon held a 3-2 lead in the third period, but the Lions’ offense saved their best for the final period.
“We had some pretty strong success offensively. They were missing two of their really strong offensive players and the difference in the game between the last time we played them was relatively significant by having those two out,” said Coach Teplitzky.
The Lions cashed in on a power play in the first period as senior right wing Jackson Fellinger lit the lamp at the 2:30 mark with an assist by senior center Jason Kornbluth. The Comets’ defense held strong the rest of the opening period.
Orange started to run away with it in the second period. Kornbluth wasted little time as he scored a goal at the 14:17 mark in the second period to push the Lions out to a 2-0 lead. Sophomore left defensemen Max Sigel had the apple.
The Comets’ defense became unglued as senior defensemen Matt Hales was whistled for a tripping penalty. Orange took full advantage of the power play as Sigel scored a lamplighter at the 2:14 mark with the apple coming off the stick of Kornluth. The Lions’ left defensemen continued to shine on the offensive end as he lit the lamp once more with 1:02 left in the period.
The Orange defensemen had a breakout game. Despite only being a sophomore Sigel has impressed his team. He does not intimidate his opponents with his size but makes up for by playing stellar defense and is slowly starting to become an offensive threat. Sigel ended up recording a five-point performance.
“He’s a phenomenal skater and his hustle back to play that’s behind or even an odd-man rush. His hustle is a 110 percent, he flies and gets back, his technique is great,” said coach Teplitzky, “He opens his hips and beats guys to the post and keeps them outside for shots. The technique and the intangibles, ‘I’m going to do this. It’s going to be hard and I’m going to be tired but I’m going to do it.’ That part is hard to teach.”
The Comets would not be shut out as they scored at the end of the second period. Senior forward Ian Carlisle caught a rebound in front of the net and snuck it past Lions’ goalie Danny Moore with :03 left before the second break.
Orange did not let the Comets gain any momentum from its’ last-second score. Kornbluth scored two goals in the first three minutes of the third period to give the Lions a cushion. The senior center now has nine assists and has scored nine goals for the season.
“It’s good disciplined hockey. If you’re a goal-scorer generally those two are gonna have an inverse proportion there. You’re going to see someone who’s got a lot of one in high school is going to tend to have fewer of the other just based on opportunities. To have nine-and-nine, to be leading the team in assists and be second in goals that just shows a very well-rounded player who’s unselfish. You can’t ask for a better leader on a line,” said coach Teplitzky.
The Lions have a busy stretch coming up as they will be playing seven games over the next two-and-a-half weeks. Orange will first host Nordonia at the Pond on Jan. 23 in Auburn Township next Saturday then head out to play Stow the next day. Solon rebounded by edging Kenston last Sunday night and will try and build off it by taking on the Bombers for a re-match at the Pond on Friday night.