KENT -- They had one of their greatest seasons in history.

They set a school record for wins and reached the Sweet Sixteen.

And for 15 minutes, they held their own against a perennial state power.

Unfortunately for the Explorers, their magical 2016-17 season has come to an end.

The fourth-seeded Hudson ice hockey team lost to top-seeded Hunting Valley University 7-0 in a Kent district semifinal game Feb. 25 at Kent State University Ice Arena.

With the loss, the Explorers finished 24-7-1. Their win total eclipsed the 22 wins Hudson had in 2000.

The Preppers, who reached the state title game last season, improved to 27-9-1.

"It's not always easy to move on from the last high school game," Explorers' second-year head coach Caleb Wyse said. "I thought we played with them physically. They didn't back down."

Hudson gave University all it could handle in the first period.

The Explorers matched the Preppers shot for shot and had some breakaway opportunities in front of the goal.

But there was one small problem: University, which had a 17-13 advantage in shots on goal in the opening period, had a 2-0 lead.

And then, in a span of 3 minutes, 34 seconds, the Preppers took complete control with four unanswered goals.

With 9:58 left in the second period, University was up 6-0, thanks to a passing clinic that overwhelmed Hudson's defense.

At that point, the Explorers' glorious season was over in the blink of an eye.

"We had a couple of defensive breakdowns," Wyse said. "We can play with those guys any time if we got a little help here and there. The puck didn't bounce our way."

The Preppers had a 36-24 advantage in shots on goal.

Senior forward Alex Hoyen had two goals and two assists and sophomore forward Jack Henry Muha scored two goals.

Senior defenseman George Brinn added one goal and two assists and freshman defenseman J.D. Clemens and senior forward Ethan Whetstone each had one goal and one assist.

Sophomore forward Henry Saada had three assists and junior defenseman Trip Gorman and senior forward Tommy Nook each had one assist.

University senior goaltender Jackson Polish, who made several dazzling saves in the opening period, finished with 24 stops.

Hudson senior goaltender Stroud Corr, who was under pressure most of the evening, had 29 saves.

The Explorers said goodbye to Corr and fellow seniors Jacob Movshin (defenseman), Max Cole (forward) and Chandler Kotseos (forward).

"I'm always proud of our guys," Wyse said. "The seniors each had their moments in the locker room. They all had something inspirational to say to the underclassmen."


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