North Royalton falls to Olentangy Orange 4-1; place 2nd in Pioneer Classic Tournament
The North Royalton Bears spent Martin Luther King Weekend (Jan. 17-19th) in Columbus, Ohio participating in the Pioneer Classic Holiday Tournament hosted by the Olentangy Orange High School Pioneer hockey team.
The Bears opened up tournament play Friday, January 17th facing off against the tournament hosts and falling to the Orange 2-1. Olentangy got on the board first, midway through the opening period to take the early 1-0 lead. The score remained 1-0, thanks in large part to the play of North Royalton’s keeper, Tyler Roesch who stopped 32 of the 34 shots faced, until early in the final period when Olentangy netted their 2nd goal of the game. The Bears didn’t wait long to reduce the Orange lead back to one when just three minutes later Brandon Walsh buried a feed from Aaron Schmitt; also picking up an assist on the goal was Preston Vinyard. The Bears nearly got the equalizer with just over a minute left but Aaron Schmitt was denied on the breakaway.
The Bears took on the Cardinals of Mentor in game two of the tournament squaring off against and beating Mentor 4-3 in the early game on Saturday, January 18th. The Bears jumped out early scoring two in the opening 5 minutes of the 1st period. Branden Walsh netted the Bears first goal assisted by Aaron Schmitt and Michael Dzoba and Cameron Megazzini scored the Bears 2nd goal assisted by AJ Bogdan and Angelo Nero. The Bears attack stalled and it was Mentor that found the net next, the Cardinals scored the next two goals, both in the 2nd period, to tie the game at two apiece. North Royalton broke the tie with just under 8 minutes remaining in the third when Michael Dzoba ripped a shot past the Mentor net minder; picking up the line assist on the goal was Christian Fernandez. Dzoba added his 2nd of the game just moments later assisted by Walsh and Schmitt. The Cardinals didn’t go quietly netting their 3rd and final goal of the game with just less than 4 minutes left but it was not enough as North Royalton held on for the one goal victory.
North Royalton faced off against the Jackson Polar Bears in their third game of the tournament, the late game on Saturday, January 18th. The Bears struggled to keep pace with Jackson through the first two periods of play and as a result they found themselves trailing the Polar Bears 3-2 entering the final period. North Royalton’s two early goals were scored by Aaron Schmitt (Walsh/Dzoba) in the 1stperiod and Angelo Nero (Gripp/Bogdan) early in 2nd period. North Royalton turned up their pace in the final period outshooting Jackson 11-4 and scoring 4 goals in the process. Michael Dzoba scored the game’s tying goal, unassisted, early in the 3rd period opening the flood gates for the Bears offensive attack. North Royalton took the lead just moments later when Aaron Schmitt scored assisted by Branden Walsh and Jeremy Gripp. Dzoba netted his 2nd of the game and of the period midway through the 3rd assisted by Walsh and Timmy Orlosky capped the Bears scoring assisted by Aj Bogdan and Angelo Nero. The Bears 6-3 win over Jackson secured their spot in the tournaments Championship game, a rematch against the Olentangy Orange.
The Bears faced off against the Olentangy Orange Pioneers for the 2nd time in three days, this time in the Championship Game on Sunday, January 19th. The Bears fell to Olentangy Orange 4-1in the Championship game with the Pioneers controlling most of the play. Tyler Roesch was a bright spot for North Royalton, the senior goaltender stopped 43 of the 47 shots he faced keeping the Bears in the game throughout. The Bears trailed 1-0 after the first, 3-0 after the second and after exchanging 3rd period goals fell 4-1 to the Pioneers. The Bear lone goal was scored by Branden Walsh assisted by Christian Fernandez and Michael Dzoba.