Aurora icers avoid winless season with victory over Canfield

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FROM STAFF REPORTS

Aurora -- The Greenmen varsity hockey team (1-16) notched its first victory of the season Jan. 29, defeating Canfield 4-2 at the Pond. The locals were lead by captain Brandt Vermillion and freshman Nick Capretta with two goals each as their 15-game losing skid ended

Capretta got Aurora going 6 1/2 minutes into the opening period, but Canfield countered three minutes later. Capretta then banged in his second goal with just over a minute left in the period, only to see the Cardinals rally again to tie the game with 18 seconds left in the first stanza

After that period, head coach John Sheridan stormed into the locker room and called his team out for its listless play. The team quickly responded, as Vermillion scored twice in the first 3 1/2 minutes of the second frame and the defense and goaltender Matt Taft did the rest, shutting out the Cardinals.

Sheridan and the team were obviously happy to end the losing streak. "We got big goals, played good defense and goaltending -- they're the keys to winning," he said.

Taft made 14 saves, and AHS poured 48 shots at Canfield's cage. A telling statistic was Aurora outshooting Canfield 15-1 in the third period with the game on the line.

Vermillion added an assist for a 3-point night. Oliver Ketonen had two assists, with Kenny Pope and Corey Pajek also getting one each.

The only downside to the game was the Greenmen lost starting winger Kelly Sheridan to a season-ending injury. The senior was injured late in the second period, suffering a broken arm when she collided with teammate Vermillion at center ice.

After the victory, the locals struggled Feb. 1, losing to a strong Brush team 9-2, and the coach was not happy with the outcome. "We could have played a little smarter -- better positioning -- but we ran around and chased the puck and Brush's speed took advantage of that," he said.

Kevin Hutchinson made his first start in goal for Aurora and stopped 28 shots. "Hutch made some good saves, but defensively we left him hanging by himself too many times," added Sheridan.

The team faces Canfield tonight (Feb. 5) at the Ice Zone in Boardman. The Blue East Division foe topped the locals 8-3 in the season opener.

In the final regular season game recently added to the schedule, AHS travels to Mentor to play Notre Dame Cathedral Latin on Feb. 9 at 4:30 p.m. Drawings for the district tournament take place this week.

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