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POSTED ON Monday, 02.24.2014 / 6:29 PM

On Friday, Feb. 21, the Hendersonville High School Commandos took on the Indy-Summit Eagles in the second round of the Predators Cup. The game’s winner would move on to face the Father Ryan Irish in the next round and the loser’s season would come to a close.

The Commandos came in fired up, ready to rewrite memories of their most recent contest, a 4-3 loss to Centennial that saw them blow a two goal lead late in the game. Indy-Summit, who was on the quest to end the Commandos season, started Tyler Grosse in net. The Commandos sent Michael Butera into the net, hoping the string of monumental saves he had been making would continue.

The Commandos dominated the first period, taking a majority of the shots. Despite leading on the shot chart, they did not find the back of the net until more than half-way through the period when Aaron Longe scored to give his team a 1-0 lead. Hendersonville’s Jack Mali added to the Commando’s first period tally, scoring three goals to give him a hat trick in just the first period. Longe and Mali’s goals gave the Commandos a commanding 4-0 lead at the end of the first.

Hendersonville kept their foot on the gas pedal in the second period, Ian McCollum would find twine at 10:45, adding to the Commandos’s mountain of a lead. That goal would result into a goalie change for the Eagles, Tucker Darden stepped into goal to try and settle the game down. The attempt was unsuccessful as Mali would score again, his fourth tally of the game, to give the Commando’s a six goal lead that they would take into the second intermission.

Hendersonville built their lead even more in the third period. Justin Sumey scored, stretching the Commando’s lead to seven with 9:48 left in the game. This time however, Indy-Summit would strike right back; Chase MacNicoll scored the Eagles first goal of the game just more than 30 second later.

MacNicoll’s goal would be the Eagles lone goal of the game. The Commandos would add another goal, this one by Cameron Yanusz at 8:16, his first of the season. The final score would stand an 8-1 victory for Hendersonville.

The Commandos are back in action Wednesday when they take on the Father Ryan Irish.

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POSTED ON Friday, 02.21.2014 / 5:33 PM

On Wednesday, Feb. 19, the Centennial Cougars took on the Hendersonville Commandos in the first round of the Predators Cup at A-Game Sportsplex in Franklin. The Commandos, who had lost their last five games, came into the night needing a win. On the other side of the spectrum, Centennial entered the night riding a three game win streak during which they had outscored their opponents 24 to five.

Both teams came out strong in the first period and traded early scoring chances. However, it would be Centennial that got on the board first when Jake Lyle scored on the power-play to put the Cougars up 1-0 after an elbowing penalty on Hendersonville’s Ian McCollum. Hendersonville would strike right back 34 seconds later, when leading scorer Jack Mali tied the game up with 10:50 left in the period. The Commandos weren’t done yet for the period, Gabriel Bahnn made the score 2-1 with 5:14 remaining, the score that would stand going into the first intermission.

The second period was highlighted by quality chances being traded from both teams and great goaltending from both Hendersonville’s Butera and Centennial’s Napier. Late in the period, Mali would find the back of the net for the second time, giving Hendersonville a two goal lead that would stand to start the third.

In the final period, Hendersonville controlled play early, defending their lead with solid defensive play and good goaltending from Butera. However, late in the period, Centennial’s Ian Currie scored a power play goal, cutting the Commando lead to a single goal. With new found motivation to tie the game, Centennial’s Ethan Levy would tie the game just a minute after the power play goal.

With all the confidence and motivation in their favor, the Cougars, with 2:59 left in the game, Christopher Hare would find twine to give Centennial a 4-3 lead. That’s all it would take, as Centennial overcame the two goal deficit to defeat the Commandos 4-3.

Both teams return to action on Friday night as Hendersonville takes on Indy-Summit and Centennial faces Brentwood.

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POSTED ON Friday, 01.31.2014 / 8:21 PM

On Wednesday, Jan. 29, the Hendersonville Commandos took on the Ravenwood Raptors at Centennial Sportsplex. After losing three of their last four games, the Commandos were looking to get a much needed victory. Ravenwood came into the game on the opposite end of the spectrum, their last appearance a 7-0 win over Pope John Paul II.

The Raptors dominated the Commandos in the first period, a start similar to the last two times the teams have faced off. After a charging call on Commando’s defensemen Taylor Saxon, Ravenwood’s Christian Keczmer buried the puck on the power play to give the Raptors a 1-0 lead with 12:50 remaining in the first. Ravenwood wasn’t finished, with 3:57 left in the period, Keczmer found the twine again, giving Ravenwood a 2-0 lead. The Commandos would not go away, following a scramble around the crease, Aaron Longe buried the puck to cut the Raptor’s lead in half to end the period.

The second period got off to a quick start for the Raptors when their captain Zachary Wertz tallied two goals just 43 seconds apart, giving the Raptors a 4-1 lead. Ravenwood’s goal surge didn’t stop there as Zavenchary Levine scored to make it a 5-1 game. Hendersonville’s Gabriel Bahn would score to cut the Raptor’s lead to three with 1:19 remaining in the second.

In the third period, Ravenwood would wrap up the game and the two points in the standings that came along with it.

Late in the period, Aaron Longe’s slashing penalty put Ravenwood on the power play where Wertz would score, completing his hat trick and giving the Raptors a 6-2 lead and the victory.

With the win Ravenwood’s record improves to 10-6-0 and 20 points, while Hendersonville drops to 8-6-2 and 18 points.

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POSTED ON Monday, 01.27.2014 / 8:16 PM

One week after their last meeting, cross town rivals Ravenwood and Brentwood met on Jan. 21 and for the second time in as many games, the Brentwood Bruins defeated Ravenwood 5-3.

It was Ravenwood’s senior night as they honored the team’s six seniors: Jacob Perdue, Will Lamb, Sam Riley, Simon Ivey, Chris Cvercko, and Captain Zack Wertz.

Brentwood came out fast, scoring three goals in the first period.

Ravenwood goalie Simon Ivey was pulled after allowing two goals on two shots by Bruins forwards Noah Klinsky and Matt Chalkley.

Not all the blame rests on Ivey, as Brentwood had several great chances on breakaways before and after the change, but just could not find a way to add a tally of their own. Josh Friedenberger replaced Ivey in net and surrendered a deflected power play goal; Klinsky’s second of the game, to close out the period.

The second period began similarly to the first, as Chalkley dangled through two Ravenwood defenders to get his second goal of the night and extend Brentwood’s lead to 4-0.

Ravenwood forward Ryan Barrett scored off a rebound to bring some life to his team, but less than a minute later, Bruin Tucker Day scored to make it 5-1 and take the life that Barrett’s goal had given the Ravenwood student section right back out of them.

Brentwood came into the third period playing a more relaxed style of play, settling into their lead, something that Ravenwood took full advantage of as Justin Gilbert and Sid Ivey each scored to bring Ravenwood within two. A late shot by Sid Ivey could have cut the lead to one, but it rang off the post.

With the 5-3 win, Brentwood clinched first place in Tier 1 before the division shake-ups with a record of 10-3-1. The Ravenwood Raptors remain in fourth place (8-6).

Three stars of the game: (1) Matt Chalkley (2 goals, 2 assists); (2) Noah Klinsky (2 goals, 1 assist); (3) Tucker Day (1 goal, 2 assists).

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POSTED ON Friday, 01.24.2014 / 2:59 PM

Looking to break their winless season, the Pope John Paul II Knights took the ice against their Catholic cross-town rivals, the Father Ryan Irish. It was the Knights’ senior night, and what better way to honor their six seniors than by beating their long-time rival, the Irish?

The Knights came out strong as senior defenseman David Campeotto scored on a slap shot just 40 seconds into the game. The Irish answered nine seconds later as Matt Faulkner deflected a low shot right under goalie Seth Griffith’s pad. Dylan Fitzgerald would score for the Irish a few minutes later, breaking the tie and giving the Irish a 2-1 lead heading into the first intermission.

The Knights eight penalties in the second and third periods gave the Irish many power play opportunities. Early in the second period, Irish forward Jacob Ellis scored a power play goal to extend the Irish’s lead to two. The Irish made up for their lackluster start by scoring another goal late in the second, to end the period ahead 4-1.

The Knights would score a second tally in the third period, but their comeback bid came a little too late. The Irish forwards threw everything they had on net. Senior forward Riley Smith scored two goals in the third period, solidifying the Irish lead of 6-2.

Knight’s goalie Seth Griffith played a great game, stopping 29 of 35 shots.

The Irish, currently in second place, are one point behind Brentwood in the standings. They look to jump Brentwood Friday night in what promises to be an exciting match-up between two of the top teams in the league.

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POSTED ON Tuesday, 01.21.2014 / 11:59 AM

On Friday night, Jan. 17, the Hendersonville Commandos squared off against the Ravenwood Raptors at A-Game Sportsplex. Coming into the game, the Commando squad was 8-4-2 with 18 points, second in the Tier One Division. The Raptors, with a 7-5-0 record and 14 points, sat at fourth in the Tier One Division. The two previous games between these teams were both wins for the Commandos, taking home 3-0 and 6-5 decisions.

Ravenwood came out ready to battle in the first period, spending the majority of the period inside the Commandos zone. Both teams traded chances, but Ravenwood controlled the tempo of play, registering nine shots on net against the Commandos’ four. Despite Ravenwood dominating the period, the Commandos would escape the period with the score tied at zero.

Just over four minutes into the second period, Ravenwood’s hard work paid off as Christopher Flynn found the twine to give the Raptors the 1-0 lead. With 4:19 left in the period, Raptor’s captain Zachary Wertz gave the Raptors a 2-0 lead with a blocker side shot. The Commandos had no answer and the Raptors took their lead into the second intermission.

The third period would serve to prove the hockey saying that the two goal lead is the hardest lead to uphold.

Ravenwood began the period in penalty trouble after quickly sending two players to the penalty box. Just nine seconds before the first Ravenwood penalty expired, Hendersonville’s captain Tucker Keen scored to cut the Raptors lead in half.

Hendersonville, still on the power play, tied the score at two with a Jack Mali goal. Two minutes later, Hendersonville’s Aaron Longe would get called for an interference penalty, giving Ravenwood the man advantage with a little over four minutes left to play.

Ravenwood’s Chris Cyerko took advantage of the power play opportunity, scoring 1:15 into the power play to take the lead for the Raptors again. That score would hold up to till the final buzzer, giving the Raptors the 3-2 rollercoaster win.

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POSTED ON Tuesday, 01.21.2014 / 11:58 AM

On Thursday, Jan. 16, the Tennessee Outlaws took on the Ensworth- Goodpasture Tigers at Bridgestone Arena. This game meant a lot for each team as they both were celebrating “Senior Night,” an annual celebration of each team’s seniors and their dedication to the program.

The Outlaws came into the game with an 8-3-1 record and 17 points, good for second place in the Tier Three division. The Tigers, with a 7-4-2 record and 16 points, sit two slots back of the Outlaws at fourth in the Tier Three division. The last time these two teams met, in December 2013, the Tigers defeated the Outlaws 6-3

The Outlaws sent out Jackson Brown to man the pipes against the Tiger’s Heath Greene. Greene’s night started off quickly, making a few big saves to give confidence to his team. The Tiger’s Samuel Fleming would strike with 10:22 left to play in the first, and less than five minutes later, Randall Bailey added another talley, giving Ensworth- Goodpasture a 2-0 lead.

Russell Morris would cut the Tiger lead in half less than a minute after Bailey’s goal. Morris’ goal was quickly followed by another as Thomas Neal scored to tie the game at two.

Fleming struck again at the start of the second period, breaking the tie in favor of the Tigers. However, just 14 seconds later, the Outlaw’s Russell Morris tied game back up at three. The Outlaws weren’t done yet for the period, Neal added his second tally of the night on the power play and William Radcliff netted a shorthanded goal. Heading into the second intermission, the Outlaws were ahead 5-3.

Despite leading by two at the start of the final period, the Outlaws here still hungry for more. That hunger would be fed as Thomas Neal would complete his hat trick, his third goal putting the Outlaws up 6-3.

Samuel Fleming would complete his own hat trick for the Tigers, making the score 6-4 with 5:21 left to play. Two would be as close as the Tigers would come as Dylan King and William Radcliff both scored for the Outlaws in the remaining minutes.

With the 8-4 win, the Outlaws improve their record to 19 points and the Tigers remain at 16.

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POSTED ON Friday, 01.17.2014 / 11:51 AM

In the Ravenwood Raptor’s Jan. 15 match-up against the Brentwood Bruins, the Bruins dominated early and despite a late Raptor rally, fell to Brentwood 2-1.

Brentwood and Ravenwood is one of the most intense rivalries in GNASH. The two schools are less than seven miles apart and the hockey teams have met in the last three state championship games. Many of the players have gone to school together or played on the same travel hockey teams throughout their careers.

In front of their large and vocal student section, the Bruins outworked the Raptors in the first period. With a minute left in the period, Brentwood pinned the Raptors in their zone for over a minute and a half. After a bad bounce off a Raptor skate, Bruins captain Michael Feeney was left wide open and blasted a goal past Ravenwood’s Josh Friedenberger. Less than thirty seconds later, with the Bruins relentless on their attack, Feeney was left open again and knocked the puck out of midair and put it through Friedenberger’s legs. Feeney’s two goals gave the Bruins a 2-0 lead heading into the first intermission.

The Bruins, outshooting the Raptros 15-6 and controlling play, came out flying again in the second period, forcing Raptor Coach Dan Keczmer to use his time out to get his team together.

Following the timeout, the Raptors played like a new team, adding seven shots in the last six minutes of the period. Raptor senior Will Lamb cut the Bruins’ lead in half receiving a short behind the net pass from Sam Riley and knocking it home just before the end of the period.

The hits increased in the third period as both teams tried to energize their student sections and their teammates. Both sides had many scoring chances, but both Friedenberger and Brentwood goaltender Daniel Falls stood tall. With less than a minute to go in the game, the Raptors pulled their goalie, but even with the extra attacker, could not find the back of the net as time expired.

With the 2-1 win, Brentwood jumps to first in the GNASH Tier One division with a record of 9-3-1. The Raptors remain in fourth place (7-5).

Three stars of the game: (1) Michael Feeney (2 goals); (2) Daniel Falls (19 saves); (3) Josh Friedenberger (20 saves).

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POSTED ON Thursday, 01.16.2014 / 2:55 PM

On Monday, Jan. 13, the Father Ryan Irish and Ravenwood Raptors battled it out at Bridgestone Arena, home of the Nashville Predators.

Defending state champion Ravenwood came into the game with a 6-4 record, having played fewer games than the other teams in the GNASH Tier One division. Father Ryan was 6-3-2-1 coming into Monday’s game.

Father Ryan scored eleven seconds into the game when Ravenwood, not ready for the early attack, allowed Luke Tinsey to score after a mad scramble in front of the net. Irish forwards Tommy Diver and Riley Smith were credited with assists. Ravenwood came back, scoring two quick goals to close out the first period. The first Ravenwood goal was scored by senior Chris Cvercko with Trey Pefanis scored a minute and a half later to take a 2-1 lead going into the first intermission.

The second period was back and forth until Matt Faulkner scored a power play goal for Father Ryan. Raptors forward Zack Levine scored five minutes later on his own rebound in front of the net to break the tie. Father Ryan forward Riley Smith scored twenty two seconds later to tie it up once again at 3-3.

No one could break the tie in the third period, leaving the game result to be decided in a shootout. A penalty at the end of the game by Trey Pefanis left Ravenwood’s leading goal scorer unavailable for the shoot out.

Raptors goaltender Josh Friedenberger stopped all three shots in the shootout. Gianluca Digiovanni, in net for the Irish, stopped two of the three Raptor shooters. The only player to score in the shootout was Ravenwood captain and defenseman Zach Wertz whose stickhandling froze the goalie and he scored five-hole.

New behind the Ravenwood bench, after taking over as Head Coach in Jan. 2014, former Nashville Predator player Dan Keczmer, now holds a 2-0 record.

With the win, Ravenwood jumps to fourth in the Tier One division, with a number of games in hand over the other division teams. Father Ryan remains third in the Tier One division with a 6-3-2-2 record.

Three stars of the game: (1) Josh Friedenberger (21 saves, 3 for 3 in the shootout); (2) Riley Smith (goal, assist); (3) Zach Wertz (game winning goal).

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POSTED ON Saturday, 01.11.2014 / 6:43 PM

The Father Ryan hockey team traveled to Knoxville last weekend to compete in the annual High School Hockey Hoe Down Tournament. The Irish have made it to the championship in this tournament for the last four years and with the team’s success in the Greater Nashville Area Scholastic Hockey League (GNASH) so far this season, they were looking to win it all.

At the start of this tournament, the Irish didn’t look the way fans are used to seeing them. The team’s iconic purple jerseys were left back in Nashville, so the team was forced to wear makeshift red mesh jerseys with “Metro Pirates” logos embroidered on the front. The opening game of the tournament was a rematch of last year’s championship between the Farragut Admirals and the Father Ryan Irish, but this year, the game had very different results.

Last year the Irish fell to the Admirals 4-1 in the championship game. This year, after putting up a season-high 45 shots on the Admirals, the Irish emerged victorious with a score of 6-1. Owen Sherlog, a junior forward, recorded five points, including the first goal of the game.

After the game, the team returned to the hotel where they enjoyed a well-earned dinner. With all the parents, coaches, siblings and players in attendance, half the restaurant was reserved for the Irish. After a fun meal, the players rested up for their big early morning game against a familiar team, Station Camp-Beech.

Before the game, Head Coach Walt Wasyliw spoke about how Father Ryan has three teams – a good, a mediocre and an ugly. Wasyliw also said that Station Camp would love to come into Knoxville and beat a Tier 1 GNASH team.

Station Camp came to play and held the Irish scoreless for the first period. In between periods, Wasyliw was forced to make some adjustments in the offensive zone.

“I told the guys to knock off the fancy stick handling, and put shots on net to force some rebounds,” said Wasyliw.

Wasyliw also made sure a man was in the high slot to pick up the dirty goals. The plan seemed to work as sophomore Patrick Cole put a low shot past Station Camp goalie Noah Kimbrough 25 seconds into the period. The game plan held up as the Irish put up seven more goals and 40 shots for a final score of 8-1.

The Irish finished the game without any penalties.

"A first for the Irish," Wasyliw recalled.

The next game pitted the Irish against the Winston-Salem Ice Hawks, a North Carolina high school team. Winston-Salem knocked Father Ryan out of this same tournament two years ago, but this is a much different Irish team, and the game showed it.

The Irish would need to win in order to advance to the semifinals. Since the Ice Hawks had lost to Station Camp, the Irish were not expecting much of a challenge and came out slowly in the first, taking a 2-0 deficit into the first intermission.

Between periods, Wasyliw rallied his team, and gave constructive criticism on how to solve defensive zone lapses and continue to get pucks on the net in all situations.

The Irish came out strong in the second period, playing a much more physical game. Freshman Brendan Eng Tow stole the puck and scored on a breakaway to give the Irish some hope. Dominating in the offensive zone, the Irish tied the game up as captain Patrick Neal took a shot from the point and Luke Tinsey got the quick rebound on the power play.

The coaching staff seemed pleased with the level of play in the second, but clearly wanted more. Both teams worked hard in the physical third period, but with 1:40 left in regulation senior Riley Smith scored on a wraparound to clinch the 3-2 win for the Irish. With the win, the Irish clinched the second seed and would play Sunday morning in the semifinals against a Nashville travel team, the Music City Marauders.

The first period was rather non-eventful and was tied at zero. The Irish made defensive zone adjustments between periods, but the Marauders put up two goals early in the second period. The Irish would answer soon after as Eng Tow scored on a breakaway. It would not be enough, as the Marauders scored off of a shot from the corner of the ice to end the second period with a 3-1 lead.

The third period was a stalemate until Eng Tow again puts the team on his back and made a move to slide the puck under the Marauder goalie to put the Irish within one. Despite a few late offensive zone opportunities, the Irish were not able to pull off the win and fell 3-2 to the Marauders.

The teams shook hands and Eng Tow was awarded "The Defensive Player of the Tournament" with four goals and five assists.

“It felt great to be recognized by tournament directors,” Eng Tow said after the game when asked about receiving the honor.

After a weekend of learning experiences and team building, the Irish look ahead to Monday, Jan. 13, when they take on the Ravenwood Raptors at Bridgestone Arena at 6:30 p.m.

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