Bengals hang tough, but Heights pre­vails

The News Herald (Willoughby, OH) - - Sports - By Chris Lill­strung CLill­strung@news-her­ @CLill­strungNH on Twit­ter

The re­al­ity as a White South team tak­ing on a Red South op­po­nent is — more in­stances than not — a lot of time is go­ing to be logged in the de­fen­sive zone.

Bene­dic­tine nearly made it work Jan. 13 dur­ing the NDCL Win­ter In­vi­ta­tional against up­per-divi­sion Cleve­land Heights, but the Tigers weren’t go­ing qui­etly into the bit­terly cold night.

An­drew Schif­fer had two goals, in­clud­ing a ty­ing tally with seven min­utes left, but Heights an­swered through Justin Rink 11 sec­onds later and a cush­ion from Owen Lang with 2:42 to go for a 5-3 win.

“A good ef­fort by the guys who were out there,” Bengals coach Joe Prim­i­ano said. “It’s al­ways tough with a short bench, but they were able to get ready to play Heights. Un­for­tu­nately, they bested us by a lit­tle bit. We’ll get them next time.”

The Bengals (7-9-1) were out­shot, 51-17, but kept within strik­ing dis­tance for much of the pro­ceed­ings. Sopho­more goal­tender Tris­tan Cot­ter had a fine 20-save sec­ond pe­riod as Bene­dic­tine ex­erted a lot of en­ergy on the backcheck.

Down, 1-0, ap­proach­ing the first in­ter­mis­sion, Bengals ju­nior Mike Iam­marino jumped on a loose puck in traf­fic and put away a wris­ter five-hole.

Schif­fer briefly opened a 2-1 lead early in the sec­ond with a look at the left bar, but a hook­ing penalty put the Tigers (9-10) on the man ad­van­tage 61 sec­onds later.

Heights’ Calvin Gray slot­ted a qual­ity one-timer from the right cir­cle top shelf to tie the game at 2.

The Bengals spent 4:32 on the penalty kill and Cot­ter was pep­pered, but they man­aged to keep it a 2-2 game go­ing into the third.

The Tigers’ Ned Triv­i­sonno struck at the right bar off a nice feed from Justin Rink 40 sec­onds into the third.

Schif­fer tied it at 3 off an un­usual se­quence at 8:00 of the third, with a puck that trick­led off a back, down and in. But the equal­ity lasted 11 sec­onds, as Rink re­sponded and then Lang had a high­light-reel strike through the neu­tral zone, keep­ing the puck wide on a wris­ter.

“We’ve no­to­ri­ously started a lit­tle bit slow, and we know that’s an is­sue of ours,” Prim­i­ano said. “We’ve talked about it, and we came out and did it again tonight. But I think, once they re­al­ized they could play with this team, that was a lit­tle bit of added mo­ti­va­tion to go out and give it a lit­tle ex­tra ef­fort.”

More to come

For more from this game, as Prim­i­ano dis­cusses the Bengals’ young play­ers per­form­ing in key roles, read high school hockey notes Jan. 15 on­line and in the Jan. 16 print edi­tion.

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