From Aquinas College Athletics
By Tommy Gehl
Grand Rapids, Mich. — The Aquinas men’s hockey team continued their final regular season week with their first contest against the Cougars of Cleary (Feb. 9). The Saints kept their composure but the Cougars pulled away late into the second and sealed the game in the third. Cleary takes the contest with a 6-3 finish.
This loss drops AQ to 17-17 (12-11), while Cleary ups to 16-19 (10-13).
Aquinas 3, Cleary 6
AQ’s final week of regular season is a busy one, as the boys in maroon have three games within three nights (Feb. 8-10).
The Cougars caught the Saints off kilter and struck first. CU broke into the net just under six minutes into the first period.
Through trial and tribulation AQ found their equalizer just over 10 minutes later. Kirwin Johnson sunk a combination pass from Ben Cesario and Ryan Kleber.
Both teams battled for an advantage for the remainder of the period, but no team was able to manage an additional score.
AQ came hot out the gate to start the second as Matt Denhartigh was the next in line to join the spotlight. Denhartigh collected a pass from Kleber and Alex Johnson, which turned into another tally for the boys in maroon. The AQ advantage didn’t stay long as CU evened the score six minutes later. Then added another quickly to return them to the front of the contest.
A goal came six minutes later, this time it was the Saints once again evening the playing field. Cesario found pay dirt with assists from Gavin Phillips and Austin Gilmore. Once again the lead wouldn’t last as CU scored two more before the period expired. Making the difference 5-3 with the advantage to Cleary.
The Cougars went on to find a power play goal in the third, as the Saints were unable to find a response. The horn concluded the end of regulation as the Cougars found themselves over the Saints 6-3.
By the Numbers
Cesario and Kleber got involved and earned themselves two points a piece on the evening.
Max Johnston was in goal for the Saints and faced a total of 38 shots and only allowed 6. Giving him a save rating of .8421 on the contest.
AQ managed 21 total shots to CU’s 38.
The Saints will complete their back-to-back-to-back game week with their second contest with Cleary on Saturday (Feb. 10). The game is set for a 7:30 p.m. puck drop. This contest will also be Senior night for the Saints. Senior night will commence following warm ups.
(Originally published at https://aqsaints.com/news/2024/2/9/mens-ice-hockey-mens-hockey-loses-first-game-with-cleary.aspx)