Kent, CT -The Taft Rhinos headed to the Kent Lions for a 4:30 faceoff this afternoon. Taft stands at 10-5 and Kent is at 9-5-2. The game has implications within Housatonic League but more importantly a win would be a big boost in the NE Prep Playoff rankings. Junior Aiden Hopewell got the start in net for the Lions and junior Yale commit Rudy Guimond for the Rhinos.
The Rhinos struck first when big senior JJ Lemieux hammered a one-timer home in traffic from the middle of the Kent zone to make it 1-0 with 9:59 left. Kent answered with a goal by recent Cornell commit Gio DiGiulian as he snapped one post and home from Owen Mahar. Kent would strike again with 2:17 left on a Michael Fiedorczuk goal from Teddy Mallgrave and Nathan DiChiara
The second period was all Kent as the Lions added two more goals. First, bid defenseman Braden Pohlman popped home a puck in front with 16:01 left to make it 3-1. Two minutes and five seconds later, Mahar snapped a perfect cross ice pass from DiGiulian home for a power play goal. Mallgrave added a secondary helper. It was 4-1 Kent and Taft called a timeout. Kent killed off a Taft power play shortly after to keep momentum the rest of the period and into the locker room.
The third period saw Taft come alive as Kent let up a bit and took some penalties. The Rhinos started a charge. They controlled the period and Quebec native and Junior Derek Tremblay scored a power play goal with 14:30 left. Preston Hidy picked up the assist. Kent then took a few more penalties and Taft kept pushing. With 3:10 left the Lions were sent to the box. A minute or so later, Taft pulled the goalie to go 6 on 4. It worked as senior Jackson Holl hammered a rebound home and it was 4-3 Kent with 1:56 left. Taft had all the momentum and carried it to the very end with several good chances to tie the game. Hopewell made some tough saves and shots were blocked by the Lions as they survived and picked up a big win, their tenth of the year. Shots were 30-23 Taft. Final score was 4-3 Kent.
First: Owen Mahar (Kent)
Second: Gio Digiulian (Kent)
Third: Teddy Mallgrave (Kent)
Photo Credit: Dan Hickling/Hickling Images