The Cushing Varsity “B” Hockey Penguins improved to 11-5-2 on the season with a tight 3-2 victory over the Cardigan Mountain School Cougars on Saturday evening. The Cougars proved to be a formidable opponent on the Penguins’ home ice despite being younger as they were skilled, well coached, and supplied pressure throughout the game.
The first period opened-up with Cushing taking a few penalties and the penalty killing units needing to dig deep and go to work. Ben Speyer ’20 took his place between the pipes with conviction and was up to the task of the Cougar pressure as he turned away shots and helped to kill off the penalties early on. The Penguins got themselves on the board about halfway through the first when Seamus Cummings ’22 found Josh Levesque ’20 off a faceoff on a cross-crease feed which Levesque buried upstairs for a 1-0 lead. The Cougars remained stout in the first and worked the Penguins hard to keep the score at 1-0 in favor of Cushing going into the first intermission.
The second period had the Penguins rolling 3 lines as they came out ready to play and outworked the Cougars in all facets of the game with the Penguins’ consistent pressure all over the ice. The Penguins built on their lead with a slapshot from the point by captain Adam Canfield ’19 to edge the Penguins up 2-0. Fellow captain Josh Beese ’19 added a shorthanded breakaway goal to pull the Penguins out to a 3-0 lead as the second period was nearing to a close. Despite only 10 seconds on the clock to finish out the second period, Cardigan Mountain was not backing down and pressured hard into Cushing’s defensive zone and slid one past Speyer. The teams headed into their respective locker rooms for the second intermission with the score 3-1 in favor of Cushing.
The third period was a battle between the teams as Cushing looked to maintain their lead and Cardigan Mountain looked to get back into the game. Both teams had multiple high-quality chances throughout the period, but the goalies stood strong between the pipes and were turning away shot after shot. The Cougars made it a 3-2 game on a powerplay goal, but the Penguins weathered the storm and skated to victory. The defensive efforts, led by goalie Speyer, and coming from defensemen Canfield, Frank Viacek ’20, Aidan Gorman ’22, and Shane McElhaney ’22 were immense and helped propel Cushing.
The coaching staff was happy with the boy’s efforts this afternoon and their ability to hold a lead despite facing adversity of a short bench due to injuries and varsity call-ups as well as being on the penalty kill several times throughout the game.
The team will spend the next week preparing for their annual Rust Cup Tournament to close out the 2018-2019 season. It will open on Friday, Feb. 22nd at 6:00pm when Cushing takes on Avon Old Farms School. There will be a short pre-game ceremony to honor the team’s five seniors – forward captain Josh Beese, defenseman captain Adam Canfield, forward Elbert Rassuyev, forward Nick White, and forward Garrett Young. The nightcap game on Friday will be Berkshire School against Salisbury School at 8:00pm. The winning team from the 6:00pm and 8:00pm games will face off at 2:00pm on Saturday in the Rust Cup Championship. The losing teams will play at 12:00pm in the consolation game.
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Cushing Academy exists for students and develops curious, creative, and confident learners and leaders. Founded in 1865, Cushing is a co-ed, college preparatory boarding and day school for students in grades 9-12 and PG. Our students, who come from over 30 states and 30 countries, excel in our outstanding academic, art, and athletic offerings. We welcome you to visit our community and beautiful 162-acre campus in Ashburnham, Mass., just one hour from Boston, to experience all that Cushing has to offer.