Rye Country Day Boys’ Hockey
Wildcats Score Early, Often on Visitors From Wooster
When a team finds itself on the good side of a lopsided game, it’s a good time to work on fundamentals.
After going up 6-0 against the Wooster School on January 7, the Rye Country Day Boys’ Hockey team did just that, focusing on the simple tasks. “We’ve had some games where we weren’t playing up to our potential in games where we were favored,” RCDS head coach Brett Farson said.
Facing a younger, smaller Wooster, Farson wanted his team to get out to an early lead and not look back. The Wildcats did just that when Jackson Stein tapped home a loose puck in a scramble in front of the Wooster net just 3:14 into the first period.
One minute later, George Megdanis gave the Wildcats a 2-0 lead, taking a pass from Jake Oddi firing a shot from the right side past Wooster goaltender James Rapp.
“So I’m happy with the way we executed, we were trying to stress, pass-pass-pass and move the puck, and we had good puck movement on the goals we had,” Farson commented.
Oddi gave the Wildcats a 3-0 lead when he fired from the low slot just inside the right post at 7:22 of the first. With that lead, the Wildcats focused on making good passes, being alert and playing as a unit.
“Over the past weeks, we’ve really been working on our passing,” Oddi said. “This game was really a great way to cement everything we’ve been working on this past week, and so we’re looking to carry that team play forward.”
“The stuff we need to work on, we’re not going to be able to work on it against a stronger opponent because they’ll be all over us,” said Farson. “Looking around before we get the puck, planning ahead, those are things we can work on in games like today.”
And they did, while adding goals from Henry Friedberg and Eli Friedman to grab a 5-0 lead.
Perhaps the only risky play of the night for the Wildcats came on the penalty kill in the second period, when senior defenseman and captain Shane Holmes pressured the Wooster pointman while the Generals had a two-man advantage.
If Holmes got the puck, he’s got a breakaway; if he didn’t, the Generals would have a four-on-two developing deep in the Wildcat zone.
“He looked a little hesitant towards it, and I didn’t know if I could get it because it was a three-on-five, so I risked it a little bit,” Holmes said.
He swiped at the puck, knocked it away, and was off to the races.
Breaking in alone on Rapp, he lifted his right skate, made a head fake and deposited the puck in the net for an extraordinarily rare shorthanded goal while his team had two players in the penalty box, giving the Wildcats a 6-0 lead at 11:24 of the second.
It was the second goal of the year for the converted forward and team co-captain, who played forward his first two years of high school, but moved back to the blue line to fill a need on his team’s roster.
“I try to do everything for my team and put the team first but when I get to contribute I have a lot of fun and I have a lot of energy,” Holmes said. “I love to contribute, but I try to do everything I can.”
The Wildcats were able to carry the momentum into their January 11 game against Rye High School, topping the Garnets 3-2 at home.
Megdanis, Otis and Charlie Keating scored first period goals for RCDS. Following a second period double-minor for boarding called on the Wildcats’ Shane Holmes, the Garnets got two power-play goals from Declan Lavelle, but were unable to square the game.