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Hockey: St. Edward defense impressive in win over Lake Catholic
The issue for the Cougars on Wednesday night was there was nothing middle of the road about what St. Edward brought to the table in the defensive zone.
Lake managed just 17 shots — not many of which were overly dangerous — in a 2-0 loss to the Eagles in Red North West play at Mentor Civic Arena in its regular-season finale.
The Cougars (14-12-2, 4-5-1), coming off a 3-2 overtime win Jan. 23 over University in a battle of the top two teams in The News-Herald Top of the Crop, struggled to maintain any sort of offensive-zone consistency.
"Looking across the board as a team, that's not the same team we saw (against US) at all," Lake coach Ryan Okicki said. "That last team, we were getting pucks to the net, creating opportunities because we were working hard and working for each other.
"Tonight, (St. Edward) did a great job in their D-zone. They were getting the pucks out quickly. We weren't winning races to pucks. They were anticipating a little more than we were. We definitely didn't have that jump that we did last week."
The Eagles (17-12-2, 5-3) put together an outstanding second period to grab control. At the 3-minute, 52-second mark, Tyler Harkins fed well from the back boards for Gabe Lampron. The standout senior forward made the most of a low look from between the circles for a 1-0 lead.
St. Edward enjoyed a 12-2 shots advantage in the second and did not yield a Lake shot until the 9:24 mark of the period.
With 1:12 to go before intermission on a 4-on-4, Harkins poked a puck up ice into the neutral zone for Lampron, who skated in with a 1-on-1 chance. Lampron bided his time and went to the backhand nicely at the left bar.
Lake was unable to generate a breakthrough as St. Edward turned in an efficient, gritty performance in the defensive zone down the stretch.
"When you come to Lake on a Wednesday night, it's never easy to win out here," Eagles coach Troy Gray said.
"When you hold true to your defensive philosophies and make some good decisions with the puck — Lake's kids come after you. We know that. They play their system out here. They love their rink. It was just nice to get out of here with a win."
(Note: Included audio are full interviews with Okicki and Gray.)
Last Updated: 1/30/2013 11:29:56 PM EST