This weekend, CMA Prep and U16 Hockey competed in the USA Hockey Mid-Am District Regional tournament in Cleveland, OH for a chance at a clinching a bid to the National Championship in Grand Rapids, MI.
Prep toppled the competition through their first two games, beating the Ohio Jr. Blue Jackets 5-0 on Thursday and then beating the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite on Friday 4-1. Grant Adams ’19 (South Bend, IN) was in net for the first two games. In their third game, Culver was the heavy favorite against the Cleveland Barons. The Barons thought otherwise, however, and played like a team with nothing to lose. Cleveland would wind up winning, 4-2.
The loss did not prevent Prep from earning a place in the regional championship against the Esmark Stars, the winner of which would advance to the national tournament. Esmark entered the championship undefeated in the event, including two shootout victories.
Esmark struck first on a power-play opportunity, beating Adams to the far side as he tried to slide across the goal mouth to make the save.
For the remainder of the period, Culver applied ample pressure on Esmark, but were unable to capitalize and tie the game.
It wasn’t until the second period that Culver was able to cash in. The goal came as Nick Stapleton ’19 (Bellaire, MI) connected with Jacob Eckerle ’19 (Indianapolis, IN) on a quality pass as Eckerle approached and crossed the blue line. Eckerle then found teammate David Anderson ’20 (Cambridge, ON) streaking down the left wing, who attacked the net and scored a five-hole goal.
Culver would continue the onslaught for the remainder of the game, but could not find the net.
As the third period expired, the teams prepared for sudden-victory overtime.
The final blow came as Esmark took a shot on the rush. Adams made the original save, but allowed for a rebound opportunity. Esmark quickly centered the rebound, which took an unfortunate bounce off of a CMA player’s skate and into the net, ending the game 2-1 in Esmark’s favor, and ultimately ending CMA’s hopes of advancing to the national tournament.
U16 played to a 1-2 record for the event. U16 fell in their opening game to the Esmark Stars by a score of 5-2. Timofey Spitserov ’21 (St. Petersburg, RU) netted both of CMA’s goals.
CMA would then play the #4 team in the nation, Pittsburgh Penguins Elite. The Eagles battled hard the entire duration, but ultimately Pittsburgh’s depth won out, defeating CMA 7-2. Culver ended the weekend with a 5-1 victory over the Cleveland Barons. Spitserov caught fire, responsible for four of the team’s five goals.