BY J. PATRICK EAKEN | MIRROR SPORTS — At Bowling Green State University’s Slater Family Ice Arena on January 31, the Maumee hockey team honored its four seniors.
Kenny Poupard and Brayden Meeks contributed to the team as captains their junior and senior years.
“He (Poupard) has just been a rock for us, playing both offense and defense, back and forth. He’s really trying to be a team player,” Maumee coach Devin Crosser said.
“Brayden Meeks and Kenny have a lot of heart and a lot of passion, and there are moments when they just do the right things,” Crosser continued.
Noah Fowls and Tyler Magers played basketball at Maumee their first three years, and then joined the hockey team during their senior year.
Both believe they made the right decision switching to hockey, and Crosser has seen athletes do that before and then reap the benefits.
“It feels good – I’ve had some kids in the past say the same,” Crosser said.
“It’s a lot for them to grasp coming in during a four-month, five-month season, but they’re grinding and doing the stuff we need on and off the ice, and I’m happy to see they are happy.”
The Panthers took on Northwest Hockey Confer-ence White Division foe Clay on Senior Day. Just over a week earlier, Maumee defeated the Eagles, 5-2.
However, Clay turned the tables in their second meeting, outshooting Maumee 44-18 and winning 8-3. Both teams are 2-5 in the division, while Maumee falls to 2-9 overall.
Clay captain Max Belli and Michael Lones each served up a hat trick, scoring three times apiece, plus Lones had an assist. Tanner Truman had five assists for the Eagles.
Clay scored three times in the first before the Panthers got on the board on a 25-foot shot by junior Owen Grycza, who was assisted by junior Josh Reimer.
Poupard got a steal at his own blue line, and then scored unassisted on a breakaway with 6:58 remaining in the second to bring the Panthers to within one, 3-2.
However, Clay scored four times in the final five minutes of the second period to open an 8-2 lead.
Maumee freshman Jacob Storey scored on another breakaway, assisted by Reimer, with 12:46 remaining in the game for the Panthers’ third and final goal.
For Clay, Nathan Pappas and Dakota Martin also scored, and Pappas and Brady Cook had assists.
Maumee was playing without its starting goalie, junior Aubrey Hiles, so junior Brooke Kayne filled in, getting 36 saves. Crosser saw a few shots get past Kayne that she can learn from.
“Those you can see in your head and kind of critique,” Crosser said. “In a perfect world, she’d (Hiles) be with us and helping us try and go against these guys.”
In addition, Clay had at least two players back from quarantine who could not play in their first meeting, which enhanced their game in the rematch.
Maumee also lost an NHC White game to Southview, 20-0, on Saturday, January 30. The Cougars are 3-2 in the White Division. Sophomore Toby Ruch filled in at goal for the Panthers.
“It was a little lopsided and Southview is really good, but we gave a solid effort,” Crosser said.
Maumee is slated to take on Whitmer (8-3 overall, 7-1 White) at the Toledo Ice House on Saturday, February 13 at 8:30 p.m. and Fremont (0-6) on Sunday, February 14 at 4:00 p.m. at the Fremont Recreation Center.