BROOKLYN — It was a repeat performance for Amherst in the Greater Cleveland High School Hockey League’s Baron Cup II tournament.
The Comets were dominating from start to finish Sunday, scoring the first six goals to beat Midview 7-1 for their second straight Baron Cup II championship.
It was the fifth Baron Cup II title for Amherst, which also won in 2011-12 and ’05.
The Comets were rarely challenged in three Baron Cup II games, outscoring the opposition 20-4. It’s been an ongoing theme for Amherst, which has scored 214 goals and allowed only 35 to post a 30-2 record prior to the upcoming state tournament.
“It’s very difficult to get (to the Baron Cup final), let alone get here twice and also battle to win the Southwestern Conference back-to-back,” Amherst coach Steve Morris said. “We’re going to have to look back and see if anyone else has done that.
“Experience helps. There is absolutely a lot of been-there-done-that before. Your confidence level is up and you know what to expect. You still have to go out and perform.”
That wasn’t a problem against Midview.
As has been the case much of the season, Jacob Kramer, Jacob Fekete and Michael Giannuzzi were at the forefront of Amherst’s offense, which found the net four times in the first period.
Kramer scored two of his three goals in the opening period, with the hat trick giving him 60 goals on the season — three behind his school record from last year and seven behind the Lorain County record set by Avon’s Zach Zwierecki during the 2016-17 season.
“Our coach told us right from the get go that if we put a lot pressure on them out of the gate flying, that we have a good shot at winning,” Kramer said. “We are always go, go, go on the ice and as a result of our good conditioning, it lets us put a lot of pressure on the other team.”
Fekete and Giannuzzi added goals in the first period and all three Comets stars did it again in the second period to move the game to a running clock thanks to a six-goal advantage.
Fekete put the Comets up 5-0 just 51 seconds into the second period on assists from Giannuzzi and Kramer to give him 53 goals on the season.
“This feels good to do this (back-to-back) in just our third year back,” Fekete said. “Our aggression with our amount of guys for three years straight leaves us with a lot more stamina than other teams. We keep pounding and pounding and it seems like a lot of other teams get tired before we do.
“Our defense contributes just as much as our offense. It really sets us up a lot where we make a stop and turn it right around to our offense.”
Kramer pushed the lead to 6-0 at 7:39 of the second period on assists from Fekete and Tyler Waldecki before Midview (11-8) got on the board two minutes later.
Nicholas Verlotti won a faceoff in his own end and Bryan Weaver put the puck past Brady Grove (19 saves) at 5:49 to trim the lead to 6-1.
Giannuzzi closed out the scoring at 2:50 on a Waldecki assist for his 31st goal.
“That’s a really good team. There is nothing else to say other than they were better than us,” Midview coach Rick Verlotti said. “You have to literally play a perfect game. They look for your breakdowns and they take advantage. They are very well-coached. I wish I had an answer.”
The season is not over for either team. Midview opens sectional play at Brooklyn on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. against Lakewood. The Comets will face winless Garfield Heights on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m.
Amherst 7, Midview 1
FIRST PERIOD: (A) Jacob Kramer (unassisted), 12:46, (A) Jacob Fekete (Kramer, Michael Giannuzzi), 8:31, (A) Kramer (unassisted), 4:36, (A) Giannuzzi (Kramer), 0:37. Penalties: None.
SECOND PERIOD: (A) Fekete (Giannuzzi, Kramer), 14:09, (A) Kramer (Fekete, Waldecki), 7:39, (M) Bryan Weaver (Nicholas Verlotti), 5:49, (A) Giannuzzi (Waldecki), 2:59. Penalties: None
THIRD PERIOD: Penalties: (A) Waldecki (2:00 hooking), 12:07, (M) Jonathan Rodgers (2:00 roughing), 6:08.
Midview 0 1 0 - 1
Amherst 4 3 0 - 7
Shots on goal: Midview 20 (3-9-8), Amherst 16 (7-5-4). Goalies: Midview: Braden Rapp (16 shots, 9 saves), Amherst: Brady Grove (20 shots, 19 saves). Power-play opportunities: Midview 0-1, Amherst 0-1.