The Nordonia High School ice hockey team accomplished its goal of reaching the Baron Cup. However, the Knights were not able to take the next step and win a game in the Baron Cup Tournament.
On Feb. 7, Nordonia played in the first round of the Baron Cup against Brooklyn. The Knights sustained a 7-1 defeat in that contest.
Brooklyn scored a pair of goals in the opening period to take a 2-0 lead. Then the Hurricanes recorded another three goals during the second period to increase their advantage to 5-0.
Brooklyn found the back of the net yet again early in the third period, scoring a goal to extend their lead to 6-0. Nordonia got on the scoreboard later in the stanza, as sophomore Drew McKinley scored with an assist by senior Luke Friss.
Brooklyn closed out the scoring with another goal in the third period. Junior Anthony Cinalli registered 42 saves in goal.
According to Nordonia head coach Rich Cinalli, the Knights played a well-balanced game, but their overall inexperience hampered them against Brooklyn.
"We only have five seniors, and that got to us a little bit," said coach Cinalli. "We're really proud that we got to the Baron Cup, though. That was one of our goals, and we accomplished it. We now have some unfinished business and some extra motivation for next year."
A highlight for Nordonia was the fact that Friss was named third team All-Greater Cleveland High School Hockey League Blue South Division. He was honored, along with the other all-league selections, prior to the Baron Cup championship game on Sunday, Feb. 12.
Nordonia finished the regular season with a record of 6-6 in the Blue South Division. That mark enabled the Knights to qualify for the Baron Cup for the first time in three years.
The season is not yet over for Nordonia, though. That's because the Knights will now compete in the state tournament.
Nordonia will battle Kenston in the opening round of the tournament. That game is scheduled for 1 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 18, at Kent State University.
"They (Kenston) are one of the higher ranked teams, so this is going to be a really good test for us," said coach Cinalli. "The kids will see how fast the game can be played and what you have to do to get in front of a team like that. It's going to be a challenge, but our seniors are really up for it. This is the last stand for their high school careers, and they want to make the most of it."
With the regular season and the Baron Cup over, coach Cinalli expressed his gratitude for the support that his team and program has received.
"I want to thank the fans and the parents and everybody who came out to see the kids," he said.