by Frank Aceto
Associate Sports Editor
It has been three weeks since Christmas day.
Pardon the Hudson ice hockey players and coaches if they were a bit hesitant to put their Christmas ornaments back in their basement.
That's because the Explorers haven't had much to celebrate since Christmas day.
Hudson improved to 9-9-3 overall and 3-3 in the Red North Division after posting a 5-1 victory over Brecksville-Broadview Heights Jan. 12 at Brooklyn Ice Rink.
Since Dec. 25, the Explorers are just 2-5-1 on the ice. While a win like this doesn't solve everything has happened in the last two-plus weeks, it certainly did wonders for Hudson's self esteem.
"We've hit a little bit of a rough patch lately," Explorers head coach Bobby Lyle said. "We really needed a pick me up.
"All the forwards played and it was a total team effort. And the most important thing is the kids had fun."
It hadn't been much fun lately.
Although Hudson had been competitive in a number of those contests, the Explorers have been humbled by some of the top-tier teams in the state.
Fortunately for the Hudson players, it was their turn to humble someone else.
Bo Lori led the Explorers with three goals and an assist and Brent Zubal and Max Cole each scored once.
Zach Thibault, Pat Jones, Harry Harr and Anthony Giaimo each had one assist for Hudson.
Goaltenders Austin Ganley and Stroud Corr finished with eight and two saves, respectively, for the Explorers.
Hudson outshot the Bees 37-11.
"We controlled the tempo and we did a really good job of getting pucks to the net," Lyle said.
The Explorers lost a 3-2 decision to defending state champion Shaker Heights Jan. 10 at Kent State University Ice Arena.
The Raiders got some revenge on Hudson after the Explorers posted a 3-1 win Dec. 21 at the Thornton Park Tournament. Shaker also scored a 3-1 victory over Hudson Dec. 6.
In the two teams' latest encounter, the Raiders scored what turned out to be the game-winning goal with approximately three minutes left.
"Shaker lost a lot of guys, but they are still a well-balanced team," Lyle said. "We were in a position to win. All three of Shaker's goals were on costly mistakes."
Matt Murphy had a goal and an assist for Hudson. Mikey Gaffney also scored for the Explorers.
Lori and Thibault each had an assist for Hudson. Ganley finished with 23 saves as the Raiders outshot the Explorers 26-17.
Hudson is scheduled to compete in the Strongsville MLK Tournament this weekend at Iceland USA.
The Explorers are set to play 2013 state semifinalist Olentangy Liberty Jan. 18 at 1 p.m.
They are scheduled to play the Kalamazoo (Mich.) Blades (11 a.m.) and Columbus St. Francis DeSales (6:45 p.m.) Jan. 19. The tournament is set to conclude Jan. 20.