Ashburnham, Mass. -- Jacob Kamps' goal with 5:13 to play in the second period was the difference as Cushing Academy defeated Dexter, 2-1, in an early season matchup of prep hockey heavyweights at the Iorio Arena.
With the score tied 1-1, the Penguins' top line wen to work. St. Lawrence commit Marc McLaughlin made a nice pass to Max Brainin at the blue line. Brainin drove down towards the side of the net before dishing it off to Kamps, who wasted no time in burying a hard, low shot past Dexter goaltender Aidan Murphy.
Cushing jumped out to a 1-0 lead about midway through the first period on a similar transition sequence. Jeffrey Morgan snapped off a quick shot from the high slot after the puck was lost on somewhat of a broken play. Ashton Fry was credited with the primary assist for bringing the puck over the blue line and into the zone.
Dexter tied the score just over a minute into the second. Harvard recruit Jack Rathbone made a great play, pokechecking the puck away from a Penguin forward entering the zone. Rathbone quickly picked up the puck and sent Pat Daly in all alone on Cushing goaltender Joey Halstrom. The speedy Daly went straight in and chipped a shot over the glove of Halstrom and into the back of the net.
Murphy, a first year prep goaltender who transferred from Xaverian, was outstanding. He made a ton of saves to keep Dexter in the game, including two toe saves on shots from point blank range in the second period.
The game was entertaining and there were glimpses from both teams showing why they will be top ten teams in prep hockey, but there were plenty of early season mistakes. One such mistake was an errant clearing attempt by Cushing that almost ended up in the back of its net in the waning moments of the game.
Dexter Line Combinations
Kevin Hock - John Femia - Patrick Daly
Jack Donato - Jay O'Brien - Jack Nisbet
Danny Shea - Nolan Donato - Tommy Grealy
Tommy Giandomenico - A.J. Caprio - Jack Halloran
Ryan McDougall - Jack Rathbone
Bobby Pearl - Matt Gray
Cushing Line Combinations
Jacob Kamps - Marc McLaughlin - Max Brainin
Brent Hill - Vilho Saariluoma - Alec Andreucci
Dakota Mulcay - Eric Huss - Matthew Guerra
Jeffrey Morgan - Jack Dodd - Ashton Fry
Cam Berube - Ethan Roswel
Matt Dillon - Nolan McElhaney
Ben Barton - Noah Kim
Dexter '97 LW Jack Donato had a good game on the line with O'Brien and Nisbet. He played well away from the puck, was physical and provided some glue to his more skilled linemates.
Rathbone was the best player on the ice for both teams. He was solid in his own end and was his usual stellar self moving the puck up ice. His skating and footwork was so impressive and he logged a ton of minutes.
Dexter was without '99 Dartmouth commit Sean Keohan on its blue line. The junior suffered an injury in one of the team's exhibition games.
Late '99 Bobby Pearl, the son of Harvard associate head coach Paul Pearl, was solid and showed some promise on the Dexter blue line.
'98 John Femia made a good first impression after coming over from Canton High School. He's a good skater who centered Dexter's top line with Kevin Hock and Pat Daly.
Berube, a '00 LD from Haverhill, saw a lot of minutes in his first regular season prep action after playing public school hockey as a freshman. He's a smooth skater who didn't look like a '00 out there. He's undersized, but he's a player to keep an eye on.
The Cushing fourth line scored the team's first goal and had several other good shifts. '98 junior Ashton Fry, seeing his first varsity action, was a big reason why. The Colorado native was quick and brought a lot of energy.
Kamps and McLaughlin combined to make some nice plays and have an impact with their size and strength.