By Jim Smith | Special to the Record-Courier
After falling behind early in the opening-round game of the Baron Cup II Tournament late Monday night at the John M. Coyne Recreation Center in Brooklyn, the Kent Roosevelt Rough Riders hockey team rallied to earn a 4-2 victory over the Elyria Catholic Panthers.
Before most of the crowd had settled in to their seats, the Panthers scored in the opening six seconds of the game on a quick release effort by Colin Lester. Jeremy Ng assisted on the swift score.
"I sensed we were ready to play, but there was some apprehension. I just had this feeling that we could give up an early goal, and what do you know, we gave one up early," said Roosevelt coach Ben Barlow.
Although the Rough Riders put numerous shots on goal throughout the period, only the Panthers would score again in the opening period as Steve Donat scored on a power play with 2:16 remaining in the first period. David Kukucka assisted on that extra man mark.
"We were down two goals and we were fighting the tension on the bench a little bit, but it's a spot we've been in so many times," said Barlow. "We knew that we were going to be OK. We were down 2-0, but we're shooting the puck and putting pucks all over this goaltender. I liked how we were playing, we were playing with intensity."
That intense level of play resulted in a second period in which Kent Roosevelt outshot Elyria 11-4 and scored three times.
The first, which Barlow described as a "beautiful goal," was scored by Okko Boger after an assist from Gabe Smith.
That goal seemed to relieve the tension the Rough Riders were experiencing, and the freshmen combination of Matt Marniella (goal) and Lyndon Rainey (assist) combined efforts for the second Roosevelt goal in the middle period.
Aided by a Panthers penalty, the Rough Riders tallied their third goal of the period at 3:52 on a Gordie Fisher score. Boger and Mitch Fisher earned the assists on the special teams play.
As a result of a five-minute major penalty and game disqualification of Elyria's Jack Walter late in the second period, the Riders entered the final period with most of the extended power play time available.
After an impressive display of puck movement, Kent Roosevelt junior Scott Rainey scored the game's final goal on assists from Kyle Manning and Boger at 11:53. of the closing period.