Learning year comes to end for Aurora icers

by FRANK ACETO | ASSOCIATE SPORTS EDITOR Published:

Kent -- Perhaps head coach John Sheridan had the best way to describe the Aurora ice hockey team's 2013-14 season. "We just finished our 'hockey 101' season," he said.

Let's just say the Greenmen's final opponent of the season has probably taken a few more classes on the sport.

Hudson rolled to a commanding 10-0 victory in opening-round action of the Kent Division I district tournament Feb. 12 at Kent State University Ice Arena.

With the loss, the Greenmen finished 1-19. But considering where this team was at the beginning of the season, Sheridan was pleased with the progress.

"We knew we were a major underdog," he said. "We have a great group of kids and coaches who are very passionate about the game. We have 18 to 20 kids in the program after having 10, 12, 14 kids the last few years. We want to get the word out and get this program back on the map."

It didn't take long for the Explorers (16-13-3) to establish their dominance. Just 31 seconds into the game, Hudson got on the board when star forward Bo Lori found the net. And it only got worse for Aurora.

The Explorers added three more goals the remainder of the period and pretty much kept the puck on the Greenmen's end throughout the game. Hudson outshot Aurora 58-6.

Lori and Brent Zubal each had three goals and two assists for the Explorers. Lori's five points gave him a career total of 195, which is a school record. Max Cole also had a goal and two assists and Brendan Nenni had one goal and one assist.

CONNOR Kasarda and Bret Lindemann scored once apiece for the Explorers and Matt Murphy and Mike Gaffney each had two assists.

Harry Harr and Jacob Movshin each had one assist. Explorers head coach Bobby Lyle decided to give the night off to defenseman Zach Thibault, forwards Chandler Kotseos and Chris Warfield and goaltender Austin Ganley.

Aurora goaltender Kevin Hutchinson finished with 48 saves, while Explorers' goalie Stroud Corr made six stops.

"That was the third game Kevin has played in his life," Sheridan said. "He played a fantastic game. We have another goalie, Matt Taft, who has played in 15 games. Unfortunately, he couldn't be here. They're both brand new goalies to go along with a new defense. It is rewarding to see how far they've come since November."

While it was one-way traffic for much of the evening, the Greenmen forced a couple of turnovers that led to breakaway opportunities. But Corr and the Hudson defense had an answer both times to preserve the shutout.

The game was called with 1:46 left after Lindemann scored the final goal when the mercy rule was invoked.

"We battled them," Sheridan said. "Our goal was to get some respect and I thought we did that. They know we're young and don't have a lot of experience. Hudson is a very classy team."

This was the final game for Aurora seniors Kelly Sheridan, whose season was ended early by an injury, Alex Avalon, Kenny Pope and Joel Stell.

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