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AURORA -- The Greenmen ice hockey squad wrapped up its regular season over the weekend, beating West Geauga to finish with a 12-11-1 record and qualify for the Baron Cup III tournament for the second consecutive year.
The locals dominated the game from the drop of the puck, scoring 8 goals in the first period, then added 3 more to cruise to an 11-1 win.
Junior Joe Capretta led the way with 8 points, and junior Tomi Pirinen notched 5 points.
Senior Nick Capretta and junior Mike Avalon each had 4 points, and senior Dominic Hesmondhalgh and sophomore Jack Pfiffner had 2 helpers apiece. Rounding out the scoring with one point each were seniors Ian Houston and Corey Pajek and freshmen Sarah Vince and Samantha Bjelopera.
Senior Joey Brockway and sophomore Jordan Smith combined for 15 saves in goal for the locals, as West Geauga finished its regular season with a 2-12-1 overall record.
"We knew we needed a win to clinch that postseason spot, and we went out and got the job done," said AHS head coach John Sheridan. "We took an early lead and were able to get a lot of players some good experience and get contributions from everyone."
The Greenmen closed the regular season with a 6-5-1 record in the Blue North division, finishing in third place. They qualified for the Baron Cup III tourney, which includes the top eight teams from all Blue divisions in Northeast Ohio.
This is the fifth time in school history that AHS has qualified for the tournament, which follows a three- round, single-elimination format.
Aurora's first-round game will be Feb. 9 at 4:30 p.m. against Parma Normandy, which finished second in the division. The locals split a pair of games with Normandy during the regular season, winning 2-1 in early January and losing 7-5 later in the month.
The winner of that tilt will play Feb. 11 at 3 p.m. against the winner of Brooklyn and Nordonia. That winner will advance to the Baron Cup III championship game Feb. 12 at 1 p.m.
All games are at John Coyne Recreation Center in Brooklyn.
"One of our big goals this year was to make the Baron Cup, and we're very proud of this team that they accomplished that goal," said Sheridan.
"We're pretty familiar with all the teams in the tournament, and think we have as good a shot as any to win it. We made it to the second round last year, and I think that experience will pay dividends this time around."
NDCL, which won the Baron Cup III the last two years, was moved up a division this season, so there will be a new tournament champion.
After the Baron Cup III tournament, the locals will begin play in the state tournament starting the week of Feb. 13. Seedings and the tourney schedule for the Kent region will be announced later this week.