Varsity Hockey · Cup-bound Pirates clout Kenston, 4-0

BROOKLYN, Ohio — Goaltenders and defensemen register more ice time than anyone else, save for the referees. So perhaps after watching their next foe play its way through a five-overtime game, Ethan Mylett, Tommy Kelly, Ethan Routenberg and company were that much more resolved to ensure that a first-period Danny Asmar goal hold up in Saturday’s Baron Cup semifinal against Kenston.

Judging by the final score and stats: they were. It did. And that Asmar marker got some insurance help in the final period of what ended as a 4-0 Rocky River win over Kenston. And now the Rocky River Pirates have a date with the Mentor Cardinals — they of the five extra sessions Saturday night — in the championship game of the 49th Annual Baron Cup.

Mentor survived the Hudson Explorers for a 2-1 win in an 83-minute game that delayed the Rocky River-Kenston tilt by more than 90 minutes. Shorty after that delay and after the opening faceoff between the Pirates and Bombers, it was Asmar notching his second goal in as many Baron Cup starts. The lefty-shooting winger potted his jersey-matching 16th of the season when he scored on a feed from senior center Luke Witzigreuter at the 12:09-mark of the first.

Mylett turned aside seven shots to make Asmar’s netfinder hold up as the lone score in the first period. Despite the Pirates puck-possession skills netting a 14-5 shot advantage, River and Kenston skated to a scoreless tie in the second period.

The third period was a dominant one for the Sons of Blackbeard, who would tally three goals while allowing just two shots on goal at the defensive end. Junior defenseman Ethan Routenberg scored on two bullet shots — a power-play goal at 10:37 and an even-strength twine-finder at 6:26 — and Zach Pejeau added an endgame power-play marker in the final minute. Primarily through the efforts of a blueline bunch comprised of Routenberg, Kelly, Matt Stueber, Parker McClain and Brodie Reid, River skaters parried away every Bomber attack.

On anything that got through, Ethan Mylett was up to the task. The junior netminder logged his fourth shutout of the season — and his first since Dec. 23 — by stopping 14-of-14 shots in the contest.

Mylett’s counterpart, Alex Toth, stopped 64-of-65 in net for Mentor on Saturday. Both athletes figure to loom large in Sunday’s Baron Cup final (5:30 p.m., Brooklyn Recreation Center).

The Pirates and Cardinals will be meeting for the third time this season. Mentor downed River, 4-2, eight days ago (Feb. 2) in Rocky River. The two sides skated to a wild 7-7 tie in Mentor on Dec. 7. The Cardinals head into the Greater Cleveland High School Hockey League Red Division title game with a six-game win streak in tow. The Pirates will be looking to claim a second straight Baron Cup title. Rocky River defeated Shaker Heights, 2-1, in the 2018 final to earn the program’s eighth Baron Cup title overall.

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photo credits: Kent Klodnick