Submitted by Jim Smith
Kent -- Begin with the fact that the game was a Greater Cleveland High School Hockey League cross-division matchup between the Red North and the Red South.
Add in a dose of rivalry between the two teams, the North Division's Hudson Explorers and the South Division's Theodore Roosevelt Rough Riders and one would expect a close, well-played hockey game.
And that's exactly what fans saw in a 2-2 draw Jan. 9 at Kent State University Ice Arena.
"It was fun, obviously the kids get up for it and Kent always brings a good crowd," said Hudson head coach Bobby Lyle. "It's a rivalry game and anything could have happened. It was a good night of hockey."
"When you make your schedule, a couple games will stand out and this is one of them," said Rough Riders head coach Ben Barlow.
"A majority of these kids played together for the Kent Cyclones [youth hockey], the coaches know each other and it was a well-played, fierce, competitive and disciplined game."
Kent senior co-captain Scott Rainey tallied both of the Rough Riders' goals in the opening period. Rainey scored at the 12-minute, 2-second and 1:26 marks.
"I loved the way we started tonight," said Barlow. "I was proud of the way we came out."
The Rough Riders continued to control the momentum for the first half of the second period prior to Hudson's Zach Thibault opening the Explorers' scoring at 7:46 on a three-on-one opportunity with an assist from Bo Lori.
"That was a critical juncture in the game," said Barlow. "We were controlling the play and they were kind of tentative coming out of the locker room and we had an opportunity.
"If we go up three to nothing there is a good chance we win the game. They weathered the storm and popped that score and that settled the ship for them."
"We just stayed positive and there was a lot of game yet to be played," said Lyle of his team's second- and third-period effort in coming back from a two-goal deficit.
"Anything can happen and we stressed getting pucks to the net and good things will result."
With 5:30 remaining in regulation, after a flurry of activity by the Explorers in front of Kent's net, Lori's shot trickled across the goal, providing the 2-2 tie.
Thibault and Anthony Giaimo each were credited with assists on Lori's goal. Hudson goaltender Austin Ganley finished with 21 saves.
The Explorers were scheduled to host Red North Division rival Shaker Heights Jan. 9. Results were not available at press time.
They are set to visit Red North foe Brecksville-Broadview Heights Jan. 12 at the Brooklyn Ice Rink. Play is scheduled to begin at 6:45 p.m.
Hudson is scheduled to compete at the Strongsville MLK Tournament Jan. 18 to 20 at Iceland USA.
The Explorers are set to play Olentangy Liberty Jan. 18 at 1 p.m. and the Kalamazoo Blades from Michigan (11 a.m.) and Columbus St. Francis DeSales (6:45 p.m.) Jan. 19.