By John Bombatch
KETTERING — Just two days earlier, the Beavercreek Beavers high school hockey team celebrated its successful 2014-‘15 season with a banner ceremony. On Sunday, the Beavers tried to find a way to make up all the offense that graduated from that banner season.
The defending Southwest Ohio High School Hockey League champions of the Red Division fell to Centerville by a 7-1 count Sunday at the Kettering Rec Center Ice Rink.
“We probably lost about 80 percent of our scoring from last season, which is tough to make up. We’re a young team. We had three freshmen who played tonight, with six sophomores, two juniors and five seniors,” Beavercreek coach Sean Broderick said. “We’ll improve. But right now we’ve just got to work on improving the little things.”
Trailing 2-0, Beavers junior center Ethan Green chipped in a score from just to the left of the Centerville goal with 4:20 remaining in the first period. Sophomore Chad Peacock and junior Nick Martin assisted on the play.
But then it was all Elks who were doing the scoring after that. Centerville scored four goals in the second period, including one power-play goal by Patrick Swaney, and one short-handed goal by Joe Tollefson.
Tollefson then scored his second unassisted goal of the game in the third period to finalize the scoring.
With the win, Centerville leads the SWOHSHL Red with a 2-0 mark. Beavercreek falls to 0-2-1 thus far in division play.
Centerville’s Tolleson scored three goals and assisted on three others in the Elks’ win. Swaney scored two goals and added an assist, Andrew Samborsky had a goal and an assist and Griffin Bechtolt recorded a goal as well.
The Elks’ Corwin Marek, Matt Kuhn and Garrett Grills also tallied assists in the win.
Elks coach Craig Chabut said his team is just now starting to come together.
“We had a tough time in our Thanksgiving tournament at the beginning of the season where we went 1-3, so we weren’t playing sound positional hockey. But this weekend, our second weekend of the season, we’ve really bounced back,” Chabut said. “We had a good win against Cincinnati La Salle on Saturday, and now a solid game here against Beavercreek.”
Beavercreek nearly had a second goal in that opening 15-minute period of play. Jack Belmonte got off a shot that clanked off the left post and slowly began to roll into the goal, but a Centerville player was able to clear the puck just inches from it crossing the goal line for a score.
Broderick said that missed opportunity was an example of “the little things” his team needs to work on.
“Instead of stopping (and setting up for a rebound) the player continued on around the net. I think we felt pretty good after that first goal, but two minutes later, it was 4-1 and we were feeling down again,” he explained. “We’re still trying to gain confidence. We’re not there in terms of believing in ourselves to come back.”
Beavercreek has a trio of what Roderick terms “big rink” games coming up. They play Oxford Talawanda on Friday at the Goggin Ice Arena (home of the nationally ranked Miami University RedHawks hockey team), then they’re on the Cincinnati Gardens ice (home of the minor league Cincinnati Cyclones) for a Sunday match against Cincinnati St. Xavier before heading to Columbus’ Nationwide Arena (home of the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets) for a game Dec. 14 with Gahanna Lincoln.
The Beavers next home game takes place at 10:10 p.m. Dec. 18 against Kettering Alter at the Kettering Rec Center.
MUCH APPRECIATED — Eleven Beavercreek High School teachers were recognized during the second intermission as part of Faculty Appreciation Night. Each teacher donned a Beavercreek hockey jersey and was escorted onto the ice by a Beavercreek player.
John Bombatch can be reached at (937) 372-4444, Ext. 2123.