Week five of Greater Nashville Area Scholastic Hockey (GNASH) commenced with Nolensville/Ravenwood2 looking to get a win against first place Brentwood. Despite a magnificent effort by Nolensville goalie Anthony Alvarez, Brentwood easily scooped up a win by a score of 10-2 for the evening.
From the moment the puck dropped it was evident Brentwood was in control of the game. No matter what Nolensville/Ravenwood2 did, they always appeared to be just a step behind Brentwood. Any momentum they were able to muster in the offensive zone was quickly cast aside as Brentwood turned play back around on them. The offensive pressure paid off shortly as Brentwood’s Sean Egan released a shot left of the blue line, making it just under Alvarez’s glove to put Brentwood up 1-0 at 12:21. Apparently, the shot was so
good even the refs lost the puck under the netting. It was never found so a new puck was brought into play.
Only seven seconds later, Brentwood made it 2-0 as Brennen Williams took a feed from Ryan Coliano and slipped it past Alvarez stick side. Things were not looking good for Nolensville/Ravenwood2 as Brentwood had only thrown two shots on net for two goals. Nolensville/Ravenwood2 did not back down though. They regrouped and brought the offense, momentarily catching Brentwood off guard as Dillon Knight made a shot from the left circle, only to be blocked by Egan. The puck sailed right back around to Nolensville and Dylan Samson slapped a shot from the blue line to Brentwood’s net minder Ryan Bobrow. Bobrow made the initial stop, but couldn’t control the rebound and Andrew Dunn hit it in to put Nolensville/Ravenwood2 on the board.
Brentwood attempted to respond as Nathaniel Biron sailed in between the Nolensville/Ravenwood2 defensive lines as they attempted to pass the puck and skated down on a breakaway. Alvarez, having found his footing, was not so easily beaten this time and stopped the puck. Taking the faceoff in the offensive zone, Brentwood attempted to set up, but an errant check from behind to a Nolensville/Ravenwood2 player led Ryan Coliano to sit in the box for two minutes. Luck was kind to Brentwood though as the opposition could not capitalize on the mistake. Luck was not as kind to Nolensville/Ravenwood2 as things started to get a little chippy on the ice and they suddenly found themselves two men down as James Whittle and Ryan Shillington were both given two minutes for interference and a check from behind respectively. Brentwood made them pay shortly as Williams made the initial shot only for it rebound off Alvarez’s pad. Before he could cover the puck, Biron tipped it in for a power play goal and put Brentwood up 3-1.
The offense from Brentwood only continued as the Nolensville/Ravenwood2 defense was unable to stop them. Brentwood scored two more goals as Alvazrez was beat going left to right by Hudson Nadasdi and Benjamin Wallace was able to deflect a puck from MacLean Toman over his glove. Brentwood easily closed the first period with a 5-1 lead over Nolensville/Raventwood2 and the second commenced with Brentwood cleaning up a penalty for roughing by Volpintesta in the closing seconds of the first.
“We liked how we took control early,” said Brentwood Head Coach Chris Orem on his team’s offensive control.. “We knew we could outmatch them just based on previous scores. We wanted to get rolling early and I think we did and kept it rolling through the game.”
The period was clearly in Brentwood’s favor as Nolensville/Ravenwood2 was unable to bring any offense to the game posting only five shots against Bobrow. Brentwood scored three more times with Egan and Williams picking up their second goals of the night and John Gehring picked up his first of the night. Despite the goals against, the real star of the second period was Alvarez. He stood strong in the net when needed blocking shots from Brentwood’s Benjamin Wallace three times at different points on the ice and even making a saving dive to deny him a goal. An impressive power forward drive by Phillip Tidwell was unable to beat him either, with Alvarez easily swallowing the puck up in his glove.
“We just want to give credit to our goalie,” said Nolensville/Ravenwood2 Head Coach Zach Oswanksi on Alvarez despite the loss. “He faced 50 shots and stands up making 40 saves. That’s about as much as you can ask of any goalie. We really need to in the future take better care of our goalie really is what it boils down to. Not allowing those uncontested shots, really challenging, making his job a little bit easier which in turn makes all our jobs a lot easier.”
Honorable mention went to the post for getting a chance to sing its song as Williams and Gehring were denied chances from it. At the end of the second, the score was 8-1 in favor of Brentwood with 19 shots on net.
The third saw a goalie change with Devin Phillips coming into net for Brentwood. It continued to be more of the same from Brentwood as they seemed to just keep finding energy to burn through. This offense led a tense moment on the ice as Alvarez was accidently hit to the ice with his helmet coming off. A quick check and thumbs up from him resumed the game though it was clear the young goalie was in pain. Two more goals came from Brentwood as they easily again pierced the Nolensville/Ravenwood2 defense. Phillip Tidwell slapped the puck from the blue line with Jacob Layne deflecting it in making it 9-1. The score became 10-1 when Tidwell used the post as a deflection for the puck around Alvarez. The final goal of the game came from Nolensville/Ravenwood2 as Aiden Plourde pulled off a breakaway in the final minutes to make it 10-2.
After the game Brentwood Captain Brandon Williams liked what he saw from his team.
“We had a few guys missing and a few guys who normally don’t get a lot of ice time step up and play some huge roles,” said Williams. “I thought every one had a great game. I thought the defensive zone could have been better. I thought skill was great, shooting was great, and speed was great.”
Nolensville/Ravenwood2 Head Coach Zach Oswanski said he was proud of his team’s heart and character during the game; they just need to work on man to man coverage and challenging on the play going into next games.
“We never lost heart,” said Oswanski. “I am proud of my team and the heart and character they demonstrated. Going forward we really need to work on man to man coverage and really taking of your guy, your assignment and not letting anyone in easy. Make it a battle on guys, challenging the play instead of sitting back and letting the play come to us. We really need to take it to them and force their hand.”
His Captain, Andrew Dunn, also echoed his coach’s thoughts.
“I think we need to work on our defensive structure and positioning in the defensive zone because Brentwood was able to come to our goalie uncontested, taking any shots they wanted,” said Dunn. “I think if we tighten up our defense, our forwards continue to come back and back check I think we could be good going into the future.”
Both teams will face Mt. Juliet in their next games. Brentwood will face them on November 20th at 6:15pm at Ford Ice Center, North Rink. Nolensville/Ravenwood2 will play them on November 29th at 8:30pm at Centennial Sportsplex, Rink B.