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Ice Hockey: Rough Riders capture tournament title at DiPaolo Tournament

Ice Hockey: Rough Riders capture tournament title at DiPaolo Tournament


By Jim Smith

Portage Sports Correspondent


Sporting events are typically settled by players and coaches adjusting or acclimating to various situations.

Such was the case when the Kent Roosevelt Rough Riders adjusted following a bus ride exceeding four hours to the Goggin Ice Center in Oxford for the DiPaolo Memorial

Tournament this past weekend.

After the Rough Riders dropped their opening contest in the tournament to Springboro by a 4-0 tally on Friday, they made the necessary alterations to skate to three consecutive victories en route to capturing the tournament championship in a rematch with Springboro on Sunday.

Beyond achieving the goal of winning the tournament the team had set prior to the event, the success of the team was an opportunity to begin the 2022-23 campaign on a positive note after back-to-back seasons of adversity that included COVID restrictions and a shortened season.

“To go down there, lose our first one and then win two on Saturday and get ourselves into position to have an opportunity to win, and then play a really tight game against a good Springboro team (in the title game) and come out on top; the weight of emotion of everything that’s happened over the last three years for us was lifted,” said Roosevelt head coach Brad Edwards.

“It was really important for us moving forward as a program and have some success.”

On Saturday, the Rough Riders netted five goals in each of their tournament challenges, defeating Archbishop Alter 5-2 in an early morning affair and the Miami Jr. RedHawks 5-1 later that evening.

The victory over the RedHawks completed round-robin play for the Rough Riders and propelled them into the championship-game rematch against Springboro.

Heading into the final period of the title game, neither team had scored until Roosevelt netted back-to-back goals from Luke Hillebrecht and Alex Geist. Both goals were assisted by Alex Simms.

Roosevelt goaltender Brooke Binder held the Panthers to a single final-period goal in the championship contest, denying 30 of Springboro’s 31 shots on goal prior to hoisting the trophy.

Throughout the event, Roosevelt displayed an impressively balanced scoring attack with seven different skaters scoring goals and a total 10 Rough Riders earning a spot on the scoresheet.

“That was one of the things we reiterated with the kids. We’re going to do this as a team,” Edwards said. “There were so many different players that were involved on the scoresheet and so many others that were involved that didn’t show up on the scoresheet, just the way that they played put us in a position to be successful.

“I think the biggest thing is we’re moving the puck; our lines are very balanced, and everybody believes in their linemates and their teammates,” Edwards added. “They know they are going to do their job and make us more successful. So when we’re spreading the wealth around, it’s really important for our identity as a team.”

Equally impressive is that the scoring was spread out among varsity experience as a member of each class — freshmen through seniors — contributed scoring efforts.

“We need everybody to get involved no matter what grade level,” Edwards said. “I think that pays dividends. We are equal opportunity, and we don’t care who puts the puck in the net. We just want to win as a team.”

Geist, a sophomore forward, led the team in overall tournament scoring, earning five points on two goals and three assists.

Hillebrecht, a senior, and junior assistant captain Brad Simms each tallied a pair of goals and an assist for three overall points each.

Alex Simms earned three tournament points via three assists.

Also scoring a pair of goals during the tournament were Owen Stauffer and freshman Teddy Maccarone.

Parker Gibbons and Dominic France added a goal each over the weekend, while Reed Surrena offered two assists and Erik Lager Lindström earned an additional assist.

While the skaters can share the skating and scoring load throughout the games, Binder is the sole goaltender on the roster and played every minute of each tournament game.

“Her confidence level and her ability to play her angles and make big saves when we need her to make big saves; she was a rock out there,” Edwards said. “We don’t get to the championship without her this weekend.”

Binder earned a .909 overall tournament save percentage, stonewalling 80 of the 88 shots she faced.

“I am so proud and happy for these players,” Edwards said. “The amount of work they have put for the last couple years finally paid off for them. I am so happy that got to share that moment together.”



• Success in the DiPaolo Memorial Tournament provides the Rough Riders a 4-1 record to start the 2022-23 campaign.

• Roosevelt returns to the ice on Thursday evening in their opening game of the Adam S. Hamilton Tournament against Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy at Kent State Ice Arena. The puck drops at 7 p.m.

• Solon and Parma are also participating in the Hamilton Memorial Tournament. Roosevelt faces off against Solon at 9:25 a.m. Saturday and at 3:30 p.m. Saturday against Parma.

• For the duration of the four-day event, the Rough Riders will be collecting items for the Subzero Mission. The Sub Zero Mission delivers hats, coats, gloves, boots, sleeping bags and other warming items to the homeless in Northeast Ohio and other regions during the winter and

have a focus on serving veterans.

• Follow Jim Smith for tournament updates throughout the event on Twitter @BlueLineNotes

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