Using the power play to their advantage, Kent Roosevelt's ice hockey team scored three special-team goals while defeating the CVCA Royals 4-2 in the Rough Riders' first White East Division game of the season on Thursday night at the Kent State University Ice Arena.
"One thing we always talk about is in league games or close games, special teams decide the outcome," observed Roosevelt coach Ben Barlow. "It something we practiced a lot yesterday. We made some adjustments and created better scoring opportunities."
Sophomore Gabe Smith, scored the Rough Riders' first goal of the night on a power play after netting a rebound at 12:12 of the first period. Freshman Matt Marniella and junior Scott Rainey scored assists on the goal.
Later in the opening period, Roosevelt senior captain Kyle Manning scored an unassisted power play goal at 4:28.
Rainey scored the Riders' third opening-period goal with less than two minutes remaining on assists by Jake Schmauch and Dontae Montemayor.
"I loved the way we played in the first period," said Barlow. "I think that was an explosive, focused, total team effort in the first period. That period propelled us to victory tonight."
While CVCA scored the only goal of the second period on a Joshua Polanski power-play goal, assisted by Mark Sunde, the Rider's defensive effort throughout the period and game was a vital part of the victory, according to Barlow.
"Defensemen Jake Schmauch and Mitch Fisher are playing a high-pressure position, where sometimes they are on an island by themselves," said Barlow, "and these guys are playing every other shift and they are both doing a heck of a job."
Near the midway point of the third period, Rainey tallied his second goal of the game, giving him three points on the night on two goals and an assist. Marniella and Smith teamed up for assists on that final Rough Rider goal of the game.
The Royals' Luke Sunde, on an assist from his brother Mark, scored CVCA's second goal of the game at 1:10 of the final period.
Roosevelt goalie Nate Grootegoed was again instrumental in the Rough Rider victory.
"He is attacking pucks, becoming that third defenseman and helping us get quick little break outs," said Barlow of his netminder's play.
For the game, Grootegoed saved 17 of the 19 shots he faced.
BLUE LINE NOTES
n The Rough Riders face their first road test in White Division League play on Saturday night at 6:30 p.m. when they travel to The Pond in Auburn Township to play the Kenston Bombers.
Follow Jim Smith on twitter @bluelinenotes