By Matt Maher
BROOKLYN, OH – The Cardinals were soaring high after Tuesday night’s 5-4 overtime playoff victory over the Chagrin falls Tigers! After the rough season Canfield had and the rough history between these two clubs the expectations were fairly low for Canfield going into this one but sometimes it’s a good thing to play with little pressure, sometimes you need to just go out and play hockey and that’s exactly what they did against a very talented Tigers team who was sent home packing after the major upset.
It’s always good to score first and for Marcus Epp he did just that with just over 5 minutes played he found a nice goal that trickled through the five-hole of the Tigers goalie Nathaniel Newton and gave Canfield a huge energy boost. The Tigers didn’t take long to respond because 52 seconds later their team’s leading goal scorer, Anton Flach, did his thing and evened things up. After a few minutes of goaltending duels and icing calls, Connor Cattaneo ripped one past Newton for the unassisted go ahead goal that would give Canfield the 2-1 lead after the first period. Peyton Nottingham made 9 beautiful saves this period and looked very comfortable in net.
Chagrin Falls came back with a little more energy and a lot more goals and it started with Henry Cimperman who found an unassisted tally at the 9:28 mark of the period. Less than 3 minutes later Aiden Cabic found the back of the net after shooting the puck through traffic and somehow avoiding everyone including Nottingham. Cabic didn’t have long to celebrate because Adoni Darkadakis used his strength and skill with the puck to swerve his way around traffic and walk up to Newton and smash another hole through the wall and tie up the game at 3-3. Nottingham steered aside 6 of 8 shots faced.
Period 3 saw 2 very early goals, with 2 minutes and 57 seconds played Chagrin Falls saw Flach pass the puck to Cimperman who in turn found Cabic for his second goal of the night and the lead. The Tigers celebration did not last long because Marcus Epp found his team’s 3rd unassisted goal to once again tie the game. Chagrin Falls found 2 penalties this periods and both were successful kills, in fact we saw Canfield kill off 3 penalties in this game and Chagrin falls kill off 4. Nottingham made 12 masterful saves the rest of the period to force overtime.
1 minute and 30 seconds, that’s all the time Canfield needed to put this game to rest. The Cardinals had been in front of Newton trying to get something past him but the Tigers goalie and his defense were locked in, until they made 1 mistake. The defense had the puck in the corner to Newtons right and had tried passing the puck out but Connor Cattaneo was able to tip the pass and redirect it in front of Newton where Luke Scolieri was waiting and he took full advantage and DID. NOT. MISS.
The Cardinals, who went into this tournament with a 2-8 record, amazed everyone by upsetting the 12-1-1 Chagrin Falls Tigers and advanced to the semifinals where they will face Westlake who took down Nordonia 4-1 in their first round matchup. It’s an uphill battle but one the Cardinals have proven they can climb. The Cardinals game against Westlake will take place on Thursday February 8th at 6PM and you can catch Jordan Barber on the call live and for Free right here on YSN.