Brent Kitchens and the Tennessee Outlaws came into the Ford Ice Center on Monday night looking to steal a win against Blake Robison and Montgomery Bell Academy (MBA). The Outlaws couldn’t get away though from the smothering offense despite spectacular goal tending from Kitchens. When the night was over, MBA had 61 shots on goal and came away with a dominating 4-0 win. They are now three points behind league leader Brentwood who remains undefeated for the season.
Right from puck drop the initial few minutes of the game was a feeling out between the clubs. Each lapped the other a few times in the neutral zone passing the puck back and forth. The first couple of shots MBA took were blocked by Jackson Woodard and Zachry Mink, sacrificing the body to keep Kitchens from making the saves. After this, MBA decided it was time to bring the offense and began pressuring the Outlaws deep in their zone. MBA registered their first shot on goal two minutes and thirty seconds in from William Morrison, but Kitchens easily stopped it. The Outlaws responded thirty seconds later with a shot from Braydon McCandless, but MBA goalie Lucien Bernatavitz denied him. This short burst of offense from the Outlaws was quickly snuffed out by MBA who brought play up ice and began to pepper Kitchens with shots as the Outlaws were unable to keep the puck out of their zone. Any effort to get the puck into the neutral zone was quickly by stopped by MBA who dominated the zone and forced the Outlaws back on defense. Twice MBA’s Brandon Surman won the face off, getting shots from the dot requiring Kitchens to be sharp. His rebound skills also were tested as Morrison made an initial shot only for it go wide to a waiting Benjamin Lindsey. Kitchens snapped the pads shut on the rebound denying MBA once again.
Eventually the offense paid off for MBA as Kitchens couldn’t stop everything. Late in the period, Andrew Malone was called for interference and MBA was off to the penalty kill. Their penalty killers easily kept the Outlaws power play unit at bay, controlling much of the puck and not slowing a step being down a man. Fifty seconds into their power play, Woodard also received an interference penalty and play resumed four a side. There was nothing to see really as MBA continued controlling the puck. With the MBA penalty expired, they went on the power play and the finally received their due as Blake Robison made the initial shot in traffic. The puck rebounded off Kitchens, but unlike earlier, he could not pick up the rebound shot from Surman and with one second remaining on the power play, MBA tallied to make it 1-0. Less then a minute later, MBA tallied again with a blistering shot from Robison top of the circle on Kitchens off side. The puck sailed past him top shelf and made it 2-0 at 2:50. Daniel Cowen received an assist as well on the play. The Outlaws responded with just their second shot of the night from Jacob Fink, but Bernatavitz dismissed the shot. With the horn sounding, shots on goal were in favor of MBA 20-2 and the Outlaws were lucky to be down just two goals.
“Their goaltender’s outstanding.”, said MBA head coach Tim Kovick on Outlaws goalie Kitchens. “When you put sixty shots on a kid, now granted a lot of them were to his midsection, but he stopped the back door stuff, he stopped the stuff high, he stopped the stuff low, he stopped breakaways.”
The second continued the trend of the night as just seconds into the period, John Aron almost made 3-0, but the post blocked the shot. Joshua Morris made a shot from the dot off a face off win and Daniel Cowan missed a backdoor rebound to again almost give MBA another goal. The Outlaws were able to pick up on the loose puck and get down ice finally setting up an offensive rush which saw shots from Fink and Brendan Ahlgrim, but no goal was scored. MBA secured the puck and had a rush of their own down ice drawing a slashing penalty on Outlaws Woodward who committed the infraction to prevent a goal. The ensuing power play unit from MBA placed seven shots on Kitchens, but was unable to convert on the man advantage.
Half-way through the period, the Outlaws found themselves in the offensive zone and set up shop to get going. During a cycle of the puck, MBA’s Ben Evans laid a huge hit on McCandless forcing him off ice for evaluation. No penalty was called. The Outlaws found themselves back on the penalty kill not long after as Woodard received his third penalty of the night for a cross check much to the disagreement of the Outlaws bench. MBA once again put on a clinic with shots coming from the slot, through traffic, and at one point three straight attempts made on the crease. Kitchens blocked them all. MBA did eventually punch through him with a power play goal scored with three seconds left by Robison picking up his second point of the night at 2:35. He was assisted by John Aron in the play. At the end of the period, shots on goal were 42 to 5 still in favor of MBA.
“It was a lot better game than we played against Indy-Summit.”, said Coach Kovick “We stayed out of the box, we played hockey. I appreciate Coach Heinrich’s team. They are positionally sound. They play clean hockey, which allows us to play clean hockey. It was a good game to watch.”
The third saw more of the same. The MBA lines were rolling, momentum clearly in their favor. The Outlaws fought valiantly back, trying to create a measure of offense to get on the board. Their best chance of the period came from Jacob Heinrich who broke through the MBA defense to get a shot ready, but the MBA defense recovered and poke checked the puck away. The final goal of the night was delivered by Robison in a shot which barely beat Kitchens as he shut the pads down. In the end, the clock wound down and MBA came across with a 4-0 shutout and a shot on goal count of 61 shots compared to Outlaws 8 shots.
Coach Kovick was pleased with his team’s effort tonight, but stated going forward they need to keep playing focused on the team and not the individual.
“We have to play it a little bit differently,” said Kovick. “We have to play more of a team game. Keep a third guy high to make sure we have no rushes against us. We’ve emphasized that ever since we lost to Brentwood and the intent is to be a better hockey team, not better individuals. We’ve got plenty of kids that can score and do really great things individually. We have to be a better team to beat the three teams ahead of us.”
Coach Heinrich of the Outlaws said the team played exactly as they planned despite the loss.
“In this particular game, our plan was to play as defensive minded as we could to keep the score as low as possible and hope for a breakout or two so we could get down on our scoring end. MBA is a great team. Lot of players on that team and we played exactly as we wanted too. We just didn’t capitalize on our breakouts.”
Kitchens was proud of his team’s performance stating, “Defense played really good to back me up behind me. All in all, that was a great game for our squad. MBA is a really good team out there. On our our part we could have done stuff a little bit better, but all in all that was a good game on our part.”
Tennessee Outlaws vs Father Ryan at 8:30pm on February 5th. Cenntennial Sportsplex Rink B
MBA vs Father Ryan at 4pm February 12th. Centennial Sportsplex Rink B