A challenging schedule doesn’t always allow the opportunity to see progress in a young high school ice hockey team like Twinsburg.
Longtime head coach Jim DiRosa realizes it will take some time for his youthful squad to gain experience and to mature.
There have been plenty of flashes of the improvement this winter, but a strong schedule has limited things in the win column.
Twinsburg followed a tough contest against Chagrin Falls with a 5-2 loss against Brooklyn Sunday.
"We had a better effort against Brooklyn," pointed out DiRosa. "We are making slow progress, but we continue to work hard."
Down 2-0 after two periods, the Tigers were active on the offensive end with 36 shots on goal against Brooklyn goalkeeper Jason Edmonds.
At the 10:56 mark of the third period, the Tigers scored on a power play goal by freshman Sean Shirokov with assists credited to juniors Andrew Henderson and Ian Lashua.
Shirokov’s power play tally sliced that Brooklyn lead to 3-1.
Twinsburg made it 4-2 at the 3:20 mark when Antonio Bennardo scored on a feed from Lashua.
Brooklyn was paced by talented prospect Aaron Wrost, who had five goals for the Hurricanes.
"I put in a whole new strategy and executed it well against Brooklyn, we just continue to struggle offensively," explained DiRosa, who continues to test lineups, sets, and personnel.
"We played physical and that is good to see," added the mentor.
The Tigers lost 10-0 to Chagrin Saturday at Dan Kostel Recreation Center in Garfield Heights.
Still looking for better traction as a team, DiRosa is still working on several aspects with his staff.
"We had moved our seniors Antonio Bennardo and Travis Poznik back to defense," offered said DiRosa, who recently made the move and continues to look for solid line combinations on defense and offense.
Twinsburg managed to produce only six shots on goal against the Chagrin Tigers.
Sophomore goalie Mark Schroeder did post 22 saves for Twinsburg against Chagrin.
Defensively, Twinsburg had to contend with several offensive threats for Chagrin – specifically, forward Garrin Bunker.
Bunker, a GCHSHL White Division all-star, exploded for five goals and one assist in the victory.
Twinsburg started making large strides with a strong 3-0 showing at the Bay High Rocket Holiday Tournament at Winterhurst Arena in Lakewood in mid-December.
"This was the first tournament championship in program history," pointed out an excited DiRosa.
Schroeder registered his first career shutout in the nets after the Tigers defeated Lyndhurst Brush 4-0 Dec. 15.
In the loss to Brooklyn, Schroeder was credited with 17 saves.
Seniors on the roster include Bennardo, Zak Filler, Nick Whitelaw, and Poznik. Juniors are Colby Smith, Chase Lowy, Matt Bierworth, Henderson and Lashua.
Sophomores Cassie Whitelaw and Cody Preston are also fixtures for the Tigers, who host Westlake Saturday play Orange Jan. 24 at The Pond in Chagrin Falls, where Twinsburg will also meet Chagrin Jan. 25.