Kents Hill Boys Varsity Ice Hockey Tops Hebron, 4-1
The Kents Hill Boys Varsity Ice Hockey Team finished its regular season this weekend after hosting two home games on Saturday, February 25th against Hebron Academy and Sunday, February 26th against Academie St.Louis. Prior to this weekend, Kents Hill posted an overall record of 17-10-1, coming off a 4-1 win against North Yarmouth Academy on Saturday, February 18th.
On Saturday afternoon, Kents Hill faced off against school rival Hebron Academy. Kents Hill traveled to Hebron earlier this season for the first meeting between these two teams, Kents Hill taking the 4-2 win on Hebron’s home ice. Hebron certainly aimed to accomplish the same task and even the series on Kents Hill’s home ice, but the Huskies won 4-1.
Before the game started, Kents Hill recognized seven players who were playing their last home game at Kents Hill as members of the Boys Varsity Ice Hockey Team: Brandon Bourgeois (#6), Nick Devine (#30), Carson Johnstone (#23), Ryan Caswell (#22), Devin Murray (#16), Chris Mason (#2), and Nick Fortin (#18).
Once the puck dropped, the energy in the building elevated as everyone knew there were three periods of exciting hockey ahead. Both teams came out skating fast, hard, and aggressive to win every puck battle and create quality scoring chances. The refs didn’t hesitate when calling penalties as there was a constant stream of them given out to players throughout the game. Kents Hill possessed the puck the majority of the first period and created some great scoring chances, but couldn’t shoot it past the Hebron goalie. Johnstone gained puck control off a Hebron turnover for a one on one with the goalie when his shot hit the cross bar with about five minutes of play remaining in the first period. Minutes later, Rikard Keussen beat out an icing call and tipped the puck back to Jared Cockrell positioned in front of the Hebron net, but the goalie deflected the shot into the corner. On the other end, Nick Devine came up with a big save with 2:30 left as a Hebron forward was able to get past a Kents Hill defender and get off a shot. In the remaining minute of play, Logan Day made a great defensive play to recover to the inside and deflect a pass intended for a Hebron player skating down the middle of the ice towards Devine.
Jared Cockrell got the Huskies on the scoreboard at 16:36 in the second period. Power plays were awarded to each team throughout the course of the game with each team providing quality penalty kills at critical moments in the game. While playing shorthanded, Kents Hill had a great opportunity as Keussen put on a good forecheck and won the battle for the puck in the corner. Keussen skated out of the corner towards the Hebron net, making a great pass to Caleb Fizer for a quick one timer; but the Hebron goalie somehow found a way to save the puck. At the end of the second period, Kents Hill went into the locker room with a 1-0 lead.
Kents Hill skated onto the ice looking to hold off Hebron for the final period and come away with a win. Hebron took a costly major penalty with twelve minutes left, giving Kents Hill a golden opportunity to improve upon their lead. At 11:02, Keussen scored the eventual game winner, with assists from Cockrell and Filip Akermark. The Huskies ended up scoring two more goals in the following three minutes of play. On the Huskies third goal, Brandon McLennan passed to fellow blue liner Brandon Bourgeois, who passed the puck to an open Ryan Caswell to put the Huskies up 3-0. Day scored the fourth goal at 8:34, assists from Fizer and Cockrell. Hebron scored a goal with three minutes left in the game, but was denied any future goal opportunities. Devine made sure of this by denying a Hebron breakaway in the last minute of play. Kents Hill outshot Hebron, 46-19.
Kents Hill captured its 18th win on the 2011-2012 season and has been selected as the #6 seed in the New England Prep School Tournament. #6 Kents Hill School will play #3 Holderness School this Wednesday, February 29th at 4pm at Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, NH.