KENT -- Not surprisingly, it required a pair of overtime periods for the Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy Royals to defeat the Aurora Greenmen 4-3 in their OHSAA Kent Division I district tournament game Feb. 14 at Kent State Ice Arena.
CVCA sophomore forward Christian Beckett scored the game-winning goal 1:11 into the second extra period.
The two Greater Cleveland High School Hockey League Blue North Division rivals played another overtime game just more than 48 hours earlier in the Baron Cup III title game on Feb. 12 and the Feb. 14 tilt was Aurora's third consecutive overtime game in four days.
"I asked [the team] 'When in any time of your life have you went through days of three overtime games and two comebacks?' None of us have seen anything like that," Aurora head coach John Sheridan said.
In an action-packed first period of play, the familiar foes combined for five goals. The Greenmen tallied back-to-back goals to start the period as a result of Jack McElwee and Ian Houston netting goals.
CVCA's Bayle McRitchie scored a pair of first-period goals and Aurora's Cole Rausch earned a goal between the McRitchie scoring efforts.
All five of the combined goals occurred in a span of just over 9 1/2 minutes of play in the initial period.
"The leadership of our team is just outstanding," said CVCA coach Doug Fairchild, when discussing the rally from the two-goal deficit to begin the game.
Entering the second period trailing 3-2, CVCA took advantage of an Aurora penalty early in the frame when Beckett tallied a power-play goal to tie the contest at the 11:09 mark.
Neither team scored in the next 35:20 prior to Beckett's game-winner in the second overtime period.
"I definitely can'' do it without my team," said Beckett, describing his thrilling goal. "We were able to get it out of the zone, and I was able to chip it around the boards. I saw a corner and it went in."
Aurora's best chance to win in regulation came with 1:27 remaining in the third period, but after an incredible glove save by Royals goaltender Brooks Montgomery, the teams headed to overtime.
"[Montgomery] has been amazing," Fairchild said. "At one point in the season, we were 1-10-1, and he really took it seriously. He worked hard and has made himself into an outstanding goaltender. He just got better and better and is a joy to watch."
"We came in here to prove a point," Sheridan said. "We were just shy again. It was a dog fight. I give credit to CVCA as they are a well-coached team. We gave everything we had and it just wasn't enough."
CVCA went on to lose to Walsh Jesuit 10-0 in the second round of the Kent district tournament.