College faces unknown, beats Shaker Heights 4-1 in district hockey semifinals – News-Herald


The University will celebrate their 4-1 Kent district semi-final victory over Shaker Heights on February 26 at FirstEnergy Stadium. (Brian Fisher of The News Herald)

The university stepped into the unknown on February 26th against Shaker Heights in the Kent District Semi-Finals — the first ever outdoor rink with all intangibles at FirstEnergy Stadium.

It’s no exaggeration to say that the Preppers have shown one of their great unseen elements during these three periods downtown.

Second, Hunting Valley doesn’t get any more specific than what comes next.

Photo: University Shaker Heights Hockey, February 26, 2023

Sam Wade scored twice in the crucial second period and Samonte Martin lit the ramp twice in the third to give the USA a 4–1 victory.

The Preppers, now 27-8-1, have been saying this team is different all winter.

“I couldn’t be more proud,” said US coach Andy Jerow. This leadership of Kellen McGarry, Samonte Martin and Will Genovese has been incredible in keeping them focused. A million things ran through my mind as I prepared for whatever I was about to see.

“They didn’t let the conditions affect the game from start to finish. They played great from start to finish.”

Wade struck twice about eight-and-a-half minutes apart on the second, the latter being a backbreaker.

At 1:14, the outstanding junior forward crossed the neutral zone and walked Lister Groveside to break the scoreless stalemate.

The Preppers found themselves in an awkward situation midway through the period with 5-for-3 penalty kills. Shaker coach Matt Bartley sensed the importance of the moment and called a timeout to calm his team.

Then Wade brought good trouble to the rare of rares.

College’s Sam Wade carries the puck against Shaker Heights in the Kent District Semifinals at FirstEnergy Stadium on February 26. USA won 4-1. (Brian Fisher of The News Herald)

At a cross ice feed in the neutral zone, Wade stole a pass with nothing but open ice and an orange sheet in the background. He made the most of it with an 8:44 breakaway to take a 2-0 advantage.

“It was two-on-one and I saw (Luke) Palmer breaking down the back door,” Wade said. “There really wasn’t a lane there. I just put it in the net and when it gets worse it rebounds. I filled it.

“It was all about[mental power]. It was a difficult surface to play on, but we didn’t make excuses from the jumps. We just went out there and made it to a better team like we know it.” It has to be. And we did it.”

In the third, Martin put the result on the ice with a 75-second power play on a grit goal after a Red Raiders interference penalty was called at the end of the second.

The senior contributed a fourth snappy wrist star top shelf at 11:11.

Shaker captain Jack Camp prevented the shutout with a goal with 17 seconds remaining.

For what might feel like an eternity with two-time state champion and March regular came a step that sidestepped the United States: about to nail a frozen four-berth and travel to Columbus.

“This is the hungriest group I’ve been in. This group is different,” said Wade. “Don’t let anyone tell you about this group. But this group is different. I’m looking forward to Friday.”

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