NEWARK – Newark hit the Northeast Storm with tornado-like swiftness Thursday in Reese Ice Arena.
Senior Levi Beckholt and sophomore Tyler Schroeder scored goals in the first two minutes, and the first-place Generals never let up in a 7-0 win against the second-place Storm in the Greater Columbus High School Club Hockey League.
The Generals traditionally start the season slowly, but are 6-0-1 atop the league. They’re also jumping on opponents early.
“We’re a first-class skating team, and if we stay mentally focused, there’s no doubt this team can accomplish what we think they can,” coach Don Jennings said. “We have the speed. We just have to maintain the tenacity. We try to preach to them, ‘You have tremendous speed. When the ice is fresh, you need to apply constant pressure in their zone.’ That’s Generals hockey.”
Only 25 seconds in, Beckholt tapped in a shot after a Patrick Chaykowski assist. Barely a minute later, Schroeder scored off a Cobe Needham assist. When Will Danby rebounded home Bailey Hayden’s deflected shot at 8:34 of the first, Newark already led 3-0.
“It was pretty sweet,” Beckholt said of his quick goal. “The puck came out and I was right there. I had to make it. We were kind of bummed after our last game (a loss in the finals of the North Royalton Honey Pot Tournament) and we wanted to come out fast. The coaches are always telling us to jump on teams in the first two minutes of the period. Speed kills.”
The Generals barely gave the Storm (5-2) time to breathe. After beating them 4-1 two weeks ago at Chiller Easton, Newark built a 5-0 second-period lead when Schroeder scored on a rebound off Needham’s miss, then Chaykowski found the net on the power play off assists from Beckholt and Cody Baldwin. Chaykowski, a Granville sophomore, leads the league in scoring with 16 points and in goals after his 11th.
Schroeder assisted Cole Jaquith on a late third-period goal, and Beckholt rounded out the scoring with a goal on Chaykowski’s assist.
Newark outshot Northeast 33-19, with Charlie Smart getting the shutout in goal. Senior defender Tyler Salyer from Utica said the Generals’ attack makes things easier on the defense.
“But we also have one of the best defensive lineups in the league,” he said. “This is the best start we’ve ever had since I’ve been here, and it’s because of senior leadership and the younger guys stepping up. The chemistry is really working on this team.”
Jennings said Newark’s skill and depth has enabled the Generals to give four lines equal time.
“We try to run teams into the ground in first period, and by the third period we have them worn down,” he said. “We have so much skill. It’s just been a matter of molding the seniors with the new guys, and they’ve really come on. But we can’t let down. We have a tough game with Dayton on Saturday.”
Salyer said the score sends a message to the rest of the league.
“We want to take it all the way this year,” he said. “This is our year.”