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The North Royalton Bears hockey team struggled mightily this weekend, playing four games in just two days, losing three of them and tying the other. The Bears hoping to get a jump on their season packed the weekend with quality opponents but perhaps bit off more than they could chew. The Bears opened up at Center Ice in Canton on Saturday, November 22nd against Jackson falling to the Polar Bears 5-1. North Royalton out shot the Polar Bears, 37-22, but could only muster a lone goal which came in the middle period scored by Timmy Orlosky and assisted by Jacob Krosky and Paul Jablonski. The Bears used two goaltenders in the loss; Danny Fielding (11/14) got the start and was replaced by Joey Fratantonio (6/8) with 6 minutes remaining in the second.
North Royalton returned home, to OBM Arena, for an evening game on the 22nd facing off against Fremont and falling, 6-4, to the Ice Wolves. The Bears got on the board first when Paul Jablonski scored on the power play assisted by Jacob Krosky and Timmy Orlosky. After Fremont tied the game, Royalton added the next two- Orlosky netted the first assisted by Jablonski and Krosky and Anthony Picciano add the next one assisted by Nicolai Kolasinski and Michael Schlegel. Fremont closed the gap only to see the Bears take another two goal lead when Schlegel fed Cam Cook who blasted a shot from the point past the Ice Wolves net minder. North Royalton’s defensive struggles continued as they surrendered the next four goals, one at the end of the 2nd and three in the final period. Danny Fielding got the start and struggled, giving up 5 goals on just 19 shots , which led to his being replaced by Joey Fratantonio who played the final 10 minutes giving up 1 goal on 8 shots.
The Bears headed to Gilmour on November 23rd to take on Kenston in non-league play falling to the Bombers 5-2. Kenston jumped out to an early 3-0 lead scoring 3 goals on their first 12 shots before North Royalton answered with one of their own. Eric Golla, assists to Nick Magro and Brian Fielding, tapped in a loose puck with 26 seconds remaining in the middle period however the excitement was short lived as just 15 seconds later Kenston added their fourth of the game. The Bombers added their fifth goal early in the 3rd leading to a Bears goalie change. North Royalton netted their 2nd of the game midway through the final period, on the power play, when Nicolai Kolasinski (assists to Magro and Paul Jablonski) knocked home a loose puck.
North Royalton completed their 4 game weekend on Sunday evening at the Pond in Auburn skating to a, 4-4, tie vs. the Orange Lions. The Lions got on the board first midway through the opening period and held a 1-0 lead until just under a minute when Mike Ambrose netted a score from the slot assisted by Nicolai Kolasinski and Jeremy Gripp. Each team scored two in the middle period- the Bears goals were scored by Brian Fielding (assisted by Eric Golla and Nick Magro) and Paul Jablonski (assisted by Timmy Orlosky and Jacob Krosky). The two teams entered the final period tied at three and each added another goal, the Bears goal was scored by Kolasinski with assists being awarded to Ambrose and Cam Cook. Collin Mischak provided the Bears with solid play between the pipes, something North Royalton hadn't seen all weekend, stopping 33 of the 37 shots faced.
After the weekend, the Bears now sit at 2-3-1 overall and 1-1 in the North Coast HS Hockey League.
North Royalton Bears- 2014-15
Recap of 2013-14:
The North Royalton Bears finished the 2013-14 season with an impressive 37-19-1 overall record, placed 2nd (lost 1-0 to the Jackson Polar Bears) in the USA Hockey, Ohio HS State Championships and a top 8 finisher at USA Hockey HS National Championships.
Outlook for 2014-15:
The 2014-15 North Royalton Bears believe they have what it takes to make another run at a USA Hockey, Ohio HS State Championship and will attempt to do so with a number of new players. The Bears lost 16 players from last season’s 37 win team, however, feel they have added the right pieces to contend. There are 12 players that will wear a North Royalton jersey for the first time this season joining a solid core of 10 returners. This season’s team is making defense a priority and will focus heavily on their defensive zone play. The team recognizes that in a league as strong as thiers puck management and strong defense are integral to a team’s success.
The Bears will look to their new additions to replace the offense lost from last season’s team as the Bears said goodbye to 84% (208/248) of their goals scored from a year earlier.
Timmy Orlosky (Junior/Strongsville HS)
Harrison Zeller (Junior/Revere HS)
Eric Golla (Sophomore/North Royalton HS)
Matt Brewer (Sophomore/ North Royalton HS)
Christian Fernandez (Sophomore/ North Royalton HS)
Paul Jablonski (Senior/Mayfield HS)
Nicolai Kolasinski (Senior/Walsh Jesuit HS)
(Senior/Aurora HS) Jacob Krosky (Junior/Strongsville HS) Anthony Picciano (Junior/Strongsville HS) Brian Fielding (Junior/Avon HS) Tyler Cimperman (Freshman/Garfield Heights HS)
The Bears return 5 of their top 6 defenseman from last season’s team, a team that surrendered less than 2.5 goals per game.
Returners: Preston Vinyard (Senior/Normandy HS) Jeremy Gripp (Junior/North Royalton HS) Michael Schlegel (Junior/St. Ignatius HS) Logan Kieklak (Sophomore/ North Royalton HS) Christian Fernandez (Sophomore/ North Royalton HS) Additions: Nick Magro (Junior/St. Joe’s, Fremont) Cam Cook (Junior/St. Ignatius)
North Royalton will introduce a trio of goaltenders this season, all in their first year with the Bears and all capable of playing meaningful minutes. Joey Fratantonio (Junior/Revere HS) Danny Fielding (Freshman/Avon HS) and Collin Mischak (Freshman/Cuyahoga Heights HS) will all see time between the pipes for the Bears.
Source of optimism:
The Bears seem to have a renewed hunger and a balanced roster with 12 new players and 10 returners. The team has come together quickly and their chemistry is solid.
Cause for concern:
The Bears graduated both of their goaltenders and 84% of their total goals scored from last season’s team.
Did you know?:
The North Royalton Bears have won an astounding 105 games over the last four seasons including a team record, 37 wins, last season. During that four year period, the Bears have won approximately 60% of their games compiling a 105-64-12 record along the way.