The Ravenwood Raptors became back-to-back Preds Cup Champions on Monday night as they defeated the Brentwood Bruins 3-1 at Centennial Sportsplex.
The Preds Cup is the crowning achievement of Middle Tennessee high school hockey, as more than 300 fans adorned in Ravenwood Red and Brentwood Blue made the trek to downtown Nashville for the 2013 finale. The on-ice action didn’t disappoint as it produced a level of energy akin to a Nashville Predators game at Bridgestone Arena.
The defending champs quickly sent a hard-hitting message as Ravenwood’s Caleb Muncie laid a massive body check off the opening face-off, and the game’s intensity continued to build as both teams produced rush after rush in a free-wheeling, hard-hitting first period.
After a sustained Brentwood forecheck, Ravenwood found themselves on the wrong side of a hooking penalty with 9:16 remaining in the opening period. Brentwood quickly capitalized on the power play as Caleb Callaway wheeled around the net to put the Bruins up, 1-0, with 8:38 remaining. It was a lead Brentwood would carry into the first intermission.
The break in play didn’t slow the Bruins as they continued to outhit and outplay the Raptors in the opening minutes of the second period. Ravenwood was able to capture a little of that momentum back thanks to the efforts of captain Tommy Miller, who responded with a dominating shift, highlighted by strong drive to the Bruins net that produced a much-needed counter attack for Raptors. Ravenwood wrapped up the second period with a late power-play opportunity, but they were unable to convert on the man-advantage.
Hard forechecking, even tighter defense, and phenomenal goaltending were the themes of the period as the Bruins stayed on top, 1-0, entering the final frame.
Ravenwood found themselves in the penalty box early in the third period, but Caleb Muncie quickly generated a short-handed breakaway that resulted in a Brentwood penalty, as Kristjan Grimson was called for tripping. The Raptors quickly capitalized on the ensuing offensive zone face-off as R.J. Harris tied the game at 1-1 with 11:57 remaining.
Raptors captain Tommy Miller was finally rewarded for his efforts, as he punched in the go-ahead just four minutes later.
Then, with 2:18 remaining in regulation, Miller tallied his second goal of the game after blocking a shot in Ravenwood’s zone. He then recovered the puck, rushed down the ice and slid the puck past Brentwood’s netminder to put the Raptors up 3-1.
Brentwood put on the full-court press in the final minutes of the game by pulling their goalie, but it was not enough to overcome the two-goal deficit. Ravenwood pulled out the 3-1 victory to earn their second straight Preds Cup and third championship in four years.
Ultimately, the game showcased what Greater Nashville Area Scholastic Hockey (G.N.A.S.H) is all about: hard skating, timely goals, strong forechecking, smart coaching and tremendous team effort.
Congratulations to both the Ravenwood Raptors and the Brentwood Bruins on terrific seasons!
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