Week four of Greater Nashville Area Scholastic Hockey (GNASH) kicked off at Ford Ice Center Monday night. The Pope John Paul II-CPA Knights came in looking for their first win of the season while the Ravenwood Raptors looked to continue their win streak. Despite a hard-fought game and a set of late period goals by the Knights, they fell to Ravenwood 6-4.
The Raptors showed why they were undefeated so far this season, peppering Knights goalie Garrett Bennett. He stood strong though, at one point stopping Raptors Peter Cloud on a breakaway, keeping the game at zero. The Knights were unable to muster any offense during the period as every rush down the ice was turned right back around into their defensive zone. Each team had a chance on the power play during the first with the Knights committing a trip to give the Raptors the first shot at special teams. The Raptors almost gaveup a shorthanded goal to J.T. Ernst, but Thomas Ito made the save. The Raptors then committed a tripping penalty of their own to give the Knights a power play. This was not a power play to the Knights liking though as 10 seconds in, Raptor’s Liam Hussey scored a shorthanded goal to put Ravenwood up 1-0 at the end of the first.
The second saw the Knights find their offense and be rewarded with a goal by J.T. Ernst at 11:20 to tie things up. The rest of the period was a rough one as an accidental hit on Raptor’s Ito in the crease from a Knights drive caused players on both teams to start being a bit rougher. Ravenwood amassed six minutes of penalties for roughing, crosschecking, and slashing while the Knights received eight minutes for roughing and boarding. This allowed special teams to drive the momentum but neither side could convert. It wasn’t needed though as the Raptor’s Hussey scored two more goals at 7:26 and 16.9 seconds for a hat trick. Sean Karaman of the Raptors also scored at 1:59 of the second to close it out with the Raptors having a commanding 4-1 lead over the Knights.
“I think we kind of got lost sometimes in the defensive zone and let them get behind us a lot,” said Hussey. “I think we got good shots on net and had good pressure in the offensive zone. We kept possession of the puck pretty well also.”
Ravenwood made a goalie change for the third with Aidan Vanston taking over for Ito. With the lead securely in their favor, the Raptors let off the gas and the Knights pounced on the opportunity. In less than two minutes, Ernst beat Vanston twice, once from the top right circle and then on a deflection from a shot by Dylan Guy for a hat trick of his own. Guy himself scored during this span, elevating the puck over Vanston’s shoulder to tie the game and end his night as Ito resumed goal keeping duties. With new life, the Knights charged, but the Raptors stymied the offense with two late period goals from Karaman off the post and a fourth goal from Hussey on the blue line. This sealed the deal and Ravenwood the win to take the game 6-4 at the end of regulation.
After the game, Ravenwood Head Coach Matt Eddinger, while getting the win, said there are things that need work.
“The biggest thing for us is we got lost time and time again in the neutral zone and in our own end anytime we didn’t have the puck,” said Eddinger. “We got a little bit hungry for goals I think. I think their goaltender was playing really well and we got a little hungry and off track and ended up pretty bad for us, but we have things to work on.”
Pope John Paul II-CPA Head Coach Justin Clark said while his team is young they’ve got to simplify to get a win.
“We’ve faced a lot of good teams in this league,” said Clark. “We’re very young so our guys have to learn to play at this level. We’ve just got to get pucks on net as much as possible, simplify our offense and try to get a win.”
Knights goalie Garret Bennet also spoke of helping lead the team during this time.
“I have to lead by example,” said Bennet. “My game is pretty simple, my job is keeping pucks out of the net, making sure the defense is doing the right things. So in my mind I just got to do my job. If I keep pucks out of the net my team has a chance to win.”
Both teams will face Lipscomb-Brentwood Academy in their next meetings at Centennial Sportsplex, Plex B. Ravenwood will play them on Wednesday, November 15th at 8:30pm. Pope John Paul II-CPA will then face them on Monday, November 20th at 7pm.