BROOKLYN — On a team known for its scoring, defense did the heavy lifting Saturday.
Amherst got two first-period goals and made them hold up in a 2-0 district tournament win over Padua at the Brooklyn Recreation Center.
The Comets improved to 32-2, breaking the 2011-12 team’s school and Lorain County record for wins in a season.
Next up for Amherst is a familiar opponent: Greater Cleveland High School Hockey League White division foe Olmsted Falls for the fifth time this year. Amherst owns a six-game winning streak over the Bulldogs going back to last year.
Before the Comets could lean on their defense Saturday, they needed a lead. They got it thanks to their two Jacobs.
Jacob Kramer received a pass down low from Jacob Fekete, who stopped, made a move and sent the puck past Padua goalie RJ Schuette with 5:56 left in the first period.
“Last year we went out in the first round, so it feels great to gets two wins so far this year,” Kramer said. “We would love to play St. Ignatius, but we have to go through Olmsted Falls first and it should be a good matchup.”
The second Comets goal came on a fantastic play by Fekete with 2:01 remaining in the first period. Kramer drew a tripping call at center ice but was able to get the puck to Fekete, who was also tripped himself going to the net. But even though he was falling, Fekete still managed to find the net for a 2-0 lead.
Cue the Comets defense led by Tyler Waldecki and Michael Giannuzzi.
“Tyler and I want to get the puck out of our zone as quickly as possible,” Giannuzzi said. “We just try to go off the glass, wrap it around or get it out to our wingers so they chip it out and go. The sooner we can get it out of our zone, the lower the chance the other team can score.”
Padua helped the Comets, getting called for four penalties in the second period and leaving Amherst with a pair of 5-on-3 chances. Though the advantage didn’t result in any goals it did takes plenty of minutes off the clock.
The game stayed that way until the Bruins went with an empty net with 1:04 left.
With about 40 seconds left, all 11 skaters were within 15 feet of Amherst goalie Brady Grove, whacking at a loose puck. Grove made a pair of big stops before the puck was finally cleared by the defense to preserve the shutout.
“Our defense did a stellar job keeping the puck out of our zone, but things really picked up when they (Padua) pulled their goalie,” said Grove, who had 19 saves, including 13 in the final period. “There were just bodies everywhere. I made a couple saves, but after that I had no clue and had to trust our defensemen.”
“It wasn’t pretty at times, but it definitely wasn’t from a lack of effort,” Comets coach Steve Morris said. “Tyler and Giannuzzi along with Brady in goal don’t get the credit they deserve for their defense all year.
“Brady really stayed calm and focused, and didn’t get riled at the end when the puck was loose. He did a great job, like he’s been doing all year.”
Amherst 2, Padua 0
FIRST PERIOD: (A) Jacob Kramer (Jacob Fekete, Joey Kramer), PP, 5:56, (A) Fekete (Ja. Kramer), 2:01. Penalties — (P) Zach Langermeier (2:00 cross-check), 7:10 (P) Jack Hostelley (2:00 hooking), 5:45, (A) Fekete (2:00 hooking), 1:27.
SECOND PERIOD: Penalties — (P) Josh Jarecki (2:00 tripping), 13:04, (P) Langermeier (2:00 tripping), 11:30, (P) Liam Bandura (2:00 holding) 5:37, (P) Hostelley (2:00 hooking), 4:17.
THIRD PERIOD: Penalties — (P) Langermeier (2:00 charging), 9:38.
Amherst 2 0 0 — 2
Padua 0 0 0 — 0
Shots on goal: Amherst 30 (6-16-8), Padua 19 (3-3-13). Saves: (A) Brady Grove 19’ (P) RJ Schuette 28 saves). Power-play opportunities: Amherst 1-4, Padua 0-1.