By Jim Smith | Special to the Record-Courier
After losing their first two games in the CVCA Christmas Tournament at Kent State University Ice Arena, the Kent Roosevelt Rough Riders were in search of their first victory of the event on Thursday evening.
And with a convincing 9-0 win over Normandy they found it.
Led by senior Kyle Manning's four-goal effort, supported by a three goal game by sophomore Gabe Smith the Riders were clearly in command of the contest throughout the evening.
The Riders spread their scoring evenly throughout the game, scoring three goals in each of the game's three periods.
"That was a fun game to be a part of. There were a lot of things happening today during the course of the three periods that you typically don't see in a hockey game," said Rough Rider hockey coach Ben Barlow.
One of the unusual occurrences in the contest was Kent scoring four short-handed goals during penalty kill situations, two each by Manning and Smith.
"One of those short-hand goals was just an absolutely outstanding effort of puck possession and foot skills by Gabe Smith working the bottom right corner in the offensive zone, (he) skated through a couple of players numerous times, showed good poise with the puck, has a nose for the net, got it out on his forehand and snuck it through the goaltender's legs," said Barlow.
Roosevelt's game plan of attacking the front of the net was successful throughout the game and a late first period goal by freshman Mitch Francis punctuated that strategy
"Kyle Manning made a beautiful pass to Mitchell Francis who finished the job, getting the puck upstairs, bar-down, just a beautiful goal. It was definitely a highlight goal for us tonight," said Barlow.
Junior defenseman Jake Schmauch accounted for another Kent goal in the contest.
While earning a shutout in the contest, Roosevelt goaltender Nate Grootegoed stopped each of Normandy's 25 shots on goal.
"Nate looked good and he looked sharp tonight," said Barlow.
Blue line notes
n Smith's hat trick performance (3 goals in one game) was the first of his high school career.
n The Riders conclude action in the CVCA Christmas Tournament this afternoon at 1 p.m., facing off against tournament host CVCA.