By Jim Smith
The Kent Roosevelt Rough Riders completed a two-game sweep in the “Battle of Potage County” series after defeating the Aurora Greenmen 6-1 at The Pond Ice Arena in Chagrin Falls on Sunday afternoon.
Roosevelt defeated Aurora 8-2 in the series’ opening game last Thursday. In what seemed like a deja vu moment, Aurora’s senior defenseman Will Pfiffner repeated the feat of initiating the scoring between the two teams after converting a power-play opportunity at the 5:01 mark of the first period.
Unfortunately for the Greenmen, the Rough Riders responded in a similar fashion as they did in the series opener on Thursday by dominating the scoring throughout the remainder of the contest, scoring six unanswered goals.
Roosevelt junior Alex Simms began the Rough Riders’ reaction by notching an unassisted goal 8 seconds into the second period.
Later in the middle period Teddy Maccarone, Carter Stevenson and Brock Catalucci each netted a goal, all within a span of 2:26.
Taking advantage of a special team’s power-play opportunity, Rough Riders senior captain Brad Simms scored in the third period, while Maccarone completed the game’s scoring by flipping a backhand shot past Aurora goaltender Max Stefano with 3:45 remaining in the final period.
“This is a great win for us. We’ve been playing really well lately and just building some confidence getting ready to go into MLK weekend tournament in Columbus,” Roosevelt coach Brad Edwards said.
The scoring advantage the Rough Riders earned throughout the series afforded Edwards the
opportunity to offer additional playing time to less-experienced members of the team’s roster.
“It’s a good way for us to be able to get our freshman goaltender Lilly Karpinecz some time and some of the other players that don’t see regular shifts,” explained Edwards. “That’s the intention of the program moving forward. We really want to make sure that everybody’s getting ice time. Obviously, it’s a varsity sport, and we still want to win games, but everybody has to be prepared at any time because you never know what happens in the course of a nseason.”
Karpinecz stopped seven of the eight shots she faced in the game.
Aurora coach Joe Lawrie acknowledged that playing upper-division teams are “experience games” and want to play “good talent” to prepare for upcoming Blue Division games.
“We want to step up to the speed of the other team and to the physicality of it,” explained Lawrie.
Aurora team captain Will Pfiffner also appreciates the rewards of playing upper-division competition offering, “I always try to keep focus. We always keep grinding and keep working. You can’t get down on yourself and you have to keep going. Just keep working, stick to our game, and we’ll see success.”
• Roosevelt improved its overall record to 7-7-1 with the Sunday matinee victory and their Greater Cleveland High School Hockey League (GCHSHL) White South Division record to 3-2-0
with a Saturday victory against Elyria Catholic.
• The Rough Riders are 3-0 to start calendar year 2024.
• The Pond served as “home ice” for Roosevelt while the Kent State Ice Arena was shuttered,
and the Rough Riders played nearly 20 “home” games in Chagrin.
• Pfiffner has tallied 55 points this season via 38 goals and 17 season. The Aurora captain has scored a goal in 17-of-19 games and earned at least one point in 18 of those 19 games.
• Sunday was Youth Hockey Day for the Aurora organization. Players from the Geauga, Barons,
and Shaker Heights youth programs greeted the Greenmen starting lineup. “It’s nice. I love seeing the kids. It means something to us,” Pfiffner said.
• Follow Jim Smith on X (Formerly Twitter) @BlueLineNotes.