BY J. PATRICK EAKEN | MIRROR SPORTS — Anthony Wayne and Perrysburg are set to meet for a Northwest Hockey Conference Red Division game this Saturday, but they got a taste of each other in Strongsville on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
AW and Perrysburg played for the Ehrnfelt Memorial Tournament Black Division title after both teams went 3-0 in pool play, with the Generals scoring with 11 seconds left to win, 2-1.
Anthony Wayne went 4-0 at the Strongsville tournament and improves to 16-4-3 with all four losses coming to teams that were state ranked at the time.
The Generals got off to a good start in the tournament last weekend, defeating Harborcreek Orange 3-1, Strongsville 5-2 and Cleveland Heights 7-0. In the process, senior forward Drew Seals scored his 200th career point.
AW and Perrysburg were deadlocked after the first period in the championship game on Monday, but the Generals’ freshman forward Ben Seals got the scoring started in the second, assisted by his older brother, Drew Seals, with 4:17 remaining.
Caden Tognul scored unassisted for Perrysburg with 11:54 remaining in the game to knot the score at one goal apiece.
Drew Seals got the game-winner with 11 seconds remaining, assisted by senior defenseman Zach Knapp.
“We only had one power play in the game up to that point and there were about 20 seconds left on the clock and they called a power play,” said AW coach Stephen Boehme.
“We won the faceoff and it went to Zach Knapp and he put it on the net. We won the rebound and it came out to Drew and he was able to hit it out of the air.
“I don’t know if he hit it out of the air with his stick or off his body. I’m not sure how it got into the net, but I know somehow it got in off of him.
“To that point, we hadn’t gotten but one lucky bounce, which was our other goal on almost the exact same play. They were almost mirror images of each other.”
The Generals outshot the Yellow Jackets, 32-20, as junior goalie Justin Utterback had 19 saves for AW.
Perrysburg might have revenge on its mind now, hungry to avenge the loss on Monday, but Boehme and his players welcome it.
“Yeah, that’s a good thing to have, though,” Boehme said. “We are pretty fairly matched teams.
“I thought we outplayed them for portions of it and there were portions of it where they were really well established.
“They have a couple guys who can get out and can skate extremely well, so we were trying to keep those guys at bay, but it was a little tough at times.”
Anthony Wayne 3, Harborcreek Orange 1
In the opener, junior forward Ben Thomas and senior forward Jesse Rose scored unassisted in the first and second periods to give AW a 2-0 lead.
Harborcreek’s Chris Benovic, however, scored on an assist from Austin Guzowski with 10:36 to go in the game to close the gap to 2-1.
Thomas responded 26 seconds later with an insurance goal, assisted by Drew Seals.
Despite the close score, Anthony Wayne outshot Harborcreek, 58-14, with Utterback getting 13 saves. AW had a 21-3 shot advantage in the first period alone.
“I thought we made a good deal of easily fixable mistakes,” Boehme said. “We definitely needed to shake the first period and settle in.
“That being said, we outshot them. (Utterback) played extremely well. We created a good amount of high-quality scoring chances and just couldn’t bury them.”
AW 5, Strongsville 2
Against the host team, the Generals took a quick 3-0 first-period lead and then held on for the win over the Mustangs.
Thomas got it started, scoring unassisted just 1:19 after the opening faceoff. Ben Seals scored a little over five minutes later, assisted by junior forward Zach Conrad.
Seals and Conrad reversed roles with 4:11 left in the first, with Conrad scoring on an assist from Seals.
Drew Seals scored the only goal in the second period with 1:35 remaining, assisted by Knapp to give AW a 4-0 lead.
After Cole Whitmore scored twice for Strongs-ville, Drew Seals got his second goal and his team’s fifth, assisted by Knapp with 1:06 remaining.
Anthony Wayne outshot the Mustangs, 38-17, with Utterback getting 15 saves.
“It was a very solid effort,” Boehme said. “Again we dominated almost the entire game. We had a few struggles early on a penalty kill but came back to eventually tie the period.
“I liked the effort late in the game and I thought it translated very well to Sunday (Cleveland Heights game).”
AW 7, Cleve. Heights 0
The Generals outshot the Tigers, 39-18, but Utterback was perfect as they preserved their fourth shutout of the season and outscored three pool play opponents, 15-3.
“It was a game we dominated from start to finish,” Boehme said. “In the second, we let down just a little but came back strong again in the third.
“Justin played very well keeping rebound chances away from the net or under control.”
The Generals got three goals in the first period and added four in the third. Drew Seals led the way with a hat trick.
“Drew had a good game and all around we moved the puck very well,” Boehme said.
Thomas got the scoring started in the first, scoring on assists from junior forward Jorey Rees and junior forward Ethan Gaylord just 11 seconds after the faceoff.
Drew Seals scored unassisted with 6:33 left in the first and then again with 2:57 left, this time assisted by brother Ben.
Ben Seals got the scoring started in the third, assisted by Rees with 8:21 remaining. AW’s final three goals came in the final 1:02 of play.
Knapp scored on assists from sophomore defenseman Zachary Spears and senior forward Joel Semancik with 1:02 to go.
Drew Seals got the sixth goal and earned his hat trick, scoring on an assist from Gaylord with 16 seconds left in the game. Eight seconds later off the faceoff, Gaylord scored on an assist from Drew Seals.
AW and Perrysburg will face off on Saturday at the Bowling Green State University’s Slater Family Arena at 8:30 p.m.