BY J. PATRICK EAKEN | MIRROR SPORTS — Although the Generals defeated Maumee, 6-0, in a Northwest Hockey Confer-ence White Division game last Friday, the Panthers’ goalkeeper Roby Fairchild should be awarded the game’s highlight-reel award.
Fairchild fielded 98 shots on goal and made 92 saves, which is third all-time in an Ohio high school hockey game. If nothing else, his performance frustrated AW, the division champions.
“I’ve coached for quite a while now and I’ve never seen a shot total like that,” said AW coach Steve Boehme.
“It was one of those games,” he said. “Sometimes you get a goalie and he’s just on and you’re frustrated and you’re even throwing everything at him.
“Honestly, that’s one of the best high school goalie performances I’ve seen. We had a lot that we were throwing at him and it just didn’t work.”
The most saves ever was 106 by Michael Kornet for Lyndhurst Brush against Lakewood on January 19, 2018, and on February 20, 2009, Brooklyn’s Ismael Qasem had 97 saves against Chagrin Falls.
Fairchild’s 92 saves likely kept the game from ending early because of the 10-goal mercy rule. It was the second time Fairchild has done this to the Generals.
“The first time we matched up, I think he had something like 60 shots and he came up with something like 50 saves in that one as well,” Boehme said.
“He’s seen it all, cutting down on his angle play extremely well and he’s a big boy, so he takes up a ton of the net. He wasn’t giving up really huge rebounds – they were all really close and controlled, so we had a lot trouble with our rebounds.
“We were getting three shots at a time and all of them would hit right into his pads because his rebound control was so good.”
AW did get four goals past Fairchild in the first period and added two more goals in the third. Sophomore Ben Thomas led the way with a hat trick, scoring one in the first and two more in the third.
Meanwhile, the Generals defense also did its job, limiting the Panthers to nine shots, all saves by senior goalie Sam Thomas, who was just as proud of his team.
“I think we did what we needed to do and won the outright regular season title,” he said.
AW won the championship with a 13-0 record while Maumee finished at 3-10 in the division.
It took 3:17, but Jorey Rees got the Generals on the board first, scoring on assists from Drew Seals and Logan Schuster.
Just 25 seconds later, Ben Thomas got his first goal on assists from Seals and Rees.
Jason Utterback scored AW’s third goal with 7:26 remaining in the first on an assist from center Jesse Rose.
Left-winger Joel Semancik got the final first-period goal on assists from Schuster and Rose with 6:07 to go.
For the next six minutes, Fairchild stopped every shot, getting 24 saves, and then he got 36 more while keeping AW scoreless in the second.
In the third, Ben Thomas finally broke through again, scoring on an assist from Rose with 6:01 remaining in the game.
Thomas got his final goal on an assist from Jorey Rees with 1:19 remaining.
“We still won 6-0 and we dominated play,” Boehme said. “It was not like our team played poorly. It was just not our night for putting it into the net.”
These two teams could face off one more time in the White Division playoffs. All playoff games are at the Ice House on Alexis Road.
Maumee will open on Sunday, February 24 by facing Southview with faceoff scheduled for 4:30 p.m., and the winner takes on top-seeded AW in a semifinal on Saturday, March 2 at 2:30 p.m.
The championship is set for Sunday, March 3 at 4:30 p.m.