Gannon University Club Hockey kept the good times rolling this weekend by winning the I–70/71 Tournament at Denison University in Granville, Ohio.
To put the weekend in perspective, the men played four games in 48 hours, and only 11 players traveled—some did not due to injury and academic work and the Knights were facing teams with 17 to 21 players. Needless to say, no matter the outcome, they were going to be tired.
Gannon opened the weekend at 3:30 p.m. Saturday against Xavier University and wound up in a 1-1 tie. The Knights offense had a challenge ahead of them at Xavier’s goal because as the Rev. Jason Glover – Gannon’s coach — put it, “Their goalie was a brick wall in the net.”
Josh Green was the lone Knight who was successful in finding the back of the net, with the help of his compadres, Zak Tomblin and Patrick Korn, who assisted him.
Glover said he was pleased with the men’s puck control and possession, outshooting Xavier, 36-17. The Knights also did a good job of keeping the puck out of their zone.
“We showed great chemistry,” Glover said.
The Knights were up and at ‘em the next day for a 9:30 a.m. start against the Wheeling Jesuit Cardinals. The early wake-up proved to be to a challenge, but not enough to prevent Gannon from taking a 10-5 win. At the end of the first, the men were down 3-2 with goalsfrom Tomblin and Nick Jenkins
The first period proved to be a warmup because by the second period, the Knights were ready to roll and found their groove.
They took control of the game after the second period making the score 5-4 in favor of Gannon. Jenkins opened the third period with a goal at 13 minutes, 52 seconds, which was answered 10 seconds later by a Wheeling Jesuit goal.
Soon after, the Knights went on a scoring rally and put it to the Cardinals. Even though they had a high-scoring game, it wasn’t Gannon’s best game of the weekend in Glover’s eyes.
“Frankly, it was our worst performance of the weekend, despite the goal differential,” Glover said.
The Knights hit the ice hard on Valentine’s Day at 11:30 a.m. against the hosts of the tournament, Denison University, and won 5-2.
Denison found the net first in the second period at 13:10. After that, Cupid’s arrow hit the puck and it fell in love with the net for Gannon, especially for John Roberts, who had a hat trick, scoring two of his goals shorthanded. Blane Adams and Tomblin each contributed a goal as the Knights outshot Denison 35-22.
In the championship game, tired and weary, the Knights put on their pads, laced up their skates and taped their sticks to take on Xavier once again. Despite the obvious fatigue, it only took Jenkins eight minutes into the game to score, giving the Knights a 1-0 lead.
However, Gannon came out victorious once again with the help of Jenkins, Tomblin and Roberts scoring goals. Kyle “Harty” Hartl also played a big role in the game because he was the only goalie on staff at the time and he played every minute of every game.
Hartl faced 81 shots and saved 71 throughout the weekend. He also accepted the championship trophy on behalf of Gannon. Captain Jenkins was called to receive the trophy but in a class act deferred it to Hartl for his brick wall of a presence in goal.
Overall, Glover couldn’t be happier with the team’s resilience and determination.
“The seniors would not allow this fourth trip to the tournament to go unrewarded, and I think the other guys worked hard on their behalf,” Glover said.
Gannon returns to the ice for playoffs the first weekend of spring break starting Feb. 27 in Delmont, Pa., at Center Ice Arena. For more information, visit the Gannon Club Hockey Facebook page.