Kent finished off an impressive run at the Avon Old Farms Christmas Classic with a flair for the dramatic, slipping past the host Winged Beavers, 2-1, in an exciting championship game. It was Avon’s first loss of the season after eight straight wins.
The hero for the Lions was Michael Hurst, who slammed home the winning goal in overtime.
“When Michael scored that goal, I was very happy for the team and for Michael especially,” said Kent coach Dale Reinhardt. “Michael gets overshadowed sometimes on our team because he doesn’t have a letter and won’t be our leading scorer, and on a team that has six really good senior forwards including him I can see why that happens, but Michael comes work every single day. He is a great teammate, a great leader. For the team, I was excited because I felt like it was a great validation for what we have been doing and working towards, it was proof positive that we can have played with the best in New England.”
The win capped a run that saw Kent post victories over Loomis Chaffee 6-1, Frederick Gunn School 3-1 and Trinity Pawling 5-2.
In the win over Loomis, Dante Palumbo scored two goals, and Jake Kraft and Hurst each had a goal and two assists.
Five different players – Palumbo, Kraft, Patrick Walsh, Braden Pohlman and Max Resnick – had a goal in the decision over Trinity Pawling, while Hurst, Cole Watson and Geno McEnery connected in the win over Frederick Gunn, which avenged a loss earlier in the season.
Kent goes into the break with a 7-3 record. Avon reached the final with wins over St. Paul’s (7-0), Berkshire (4-0) and Tabor (3-2).
“Avon is a really good and talented team and John (Gardner) always has them ready to go, especially at their tournament,” Reinhardt said. “Our team executed as best we could all game long. We’ve played 10 games and seven of them have been against teams ranked in the Top 10 at some point this year. So, we knew what to expect, how to handle adversity and be prepared for whatever came our way. Yet, I don’t think many people had us pegged to win the Avon Tournament.”
Nobles also had a very productive and satisfying weekend, earning the championship at the Flood Marr Tournament with a similar 2-1 win, over tournament co-host Milton Academy.
In the title game, Roman Tacelli notched the game-winner with about two minutes left in regulation, snapping a 1-1 tie. Ben MacDonald also had a goal in the game for the Bulldogs, who are now 7-0-1 overall.
“This was a total team effort from our goaltenders, to our defensemen to our forwards,” said Nobles coach Brian Day. “Over the course of the tournament we collectively gave up four goals against. Thatcher (Bernstein) and Tyler (Bloomfield) both played very well in the net and were supported by our skaters, who played terrific team defense.”
Included in Nobles’ three round-robin wins were victories over Salisbury (5-1), Phillips Andover (5-1) and Deerfield (3-1).
In the win over Salisbury, five different Bulldogs had goals. MacDonald, Will Canavan, Joe Mense, Colin Norton and Kyle O’Leary.
John Logan had two goals against Phillips Andover, where Tyler Bloomfield was solid in goal, while Dennis Davidson, Tacelli and Mense lit the lamp in the victory over Deerfield.
Thatcher Bernstein was named the Tournament MVP.
“The skaters in front of him are doing an excellent job minimizing Grade-A scoring opportunities and eliminating second chance scoring opportunities whenever they exist, but Thatcher was there throughout the tournament to bail us out whenever se had a defensive breakdown,” Day said. “We did not give up a PK goal against during the tournament. Five of our seven goals scored over the last two games were scoring on the power play. We had four lines and seven defensemen contributing throughout the course of each game. Over the course of the four games, we had 10 different goal scorers.”