By CHIP CIRILLO
Montgomery Bell Academy kept firing away, but Ryan Bobrow kept turning pucks away.
The Brentwood goalie made 22 saves, leading the Bruins to their fourth Predators Cup state title with a 3-2 win over MBA in front of a capacity crowd at Centennial Sportsplex on Monday night.
“He played out of his mind,” Bruins coach Chris Orem said. “He’s a very emotional player and that showed through in some of the games and some of the antics that were going on between the teams.”
Brentwood (18-1), which also won the regular-season championship.
The Bruins took a 2-0 lead after the first period, but the Big Red narrowed the deficit to one twice.
“How are we doing this bad, but doing this good at the same time,” said Bobrow, who faced nearly twice as many shots as MBA goalie Henry Hylbert. “One heck of a season – flipping amazing. We’re state champs and I’m just in shock right now.”
Justin Knapp, Hudson Nadasdi and Ben Wallace scored for the Bruins.
Blake Robison and Clayton Malone scored for the Big Red, who finished second for the fourth straight year in the Greater Nashville Area Scholastic Hockley League.
“The first year we played Brentwood four years ago, it was double-elimination,” MBA coach Tim Kovick said. “The two years we lost to Ravenwood, it was single-elimination. I just wish GNASH would settle on something. It bounces around a little too much.
“But it is agonizing. I have seniors that have won the GNASH Cup (regular-season title twice), but have lost the Predators Cup four (times).”
Knapp and Nadasdi scored in the first period, giving the Bruins a 2-0 lead. But Robison scored with 8.5 seconds left in the second period, narrowing the gap to 2-1.
“Bobrow played phenomenal,” said Knapp, who injured his back after getting checked into the boards during the final seconds. “The whole team knows he won us the game.”
Wallace scored 59 seconds into the final period, increasing Brentwood’s lead to 3-1.
Malone found the back of the net on a wrist shot with 8:48 remaining to narrow the deficit to 3-2, but MBA couldn’t get the equalizer.
“Keep pushing, keep getting the pucks out, get pressure on them and keep it out of our own zone,” said Wallace when asked about the one-goal deficits.
Hylbert made 10 saves as MBA outshot Brentwood 24-13.
“The senior class was the last class that had won it,” Orem said of the Predators Cup. “They were freshmen at that time and maybe didn’t get a lot of playing time, but they know what it felt like to win it. We knew what the ultimate goal was.”
Brentwood won three out of four over MBA, including an overtime victory.
“They weren’t going to let us possess it all the time in their zone like we have been in the past and that was the difference today,” Kovick said. “They only had 13 shots, but they were quality shots. That’s just how it works.”
Both schools brought big crowds to the game, much bigger than normal.
“This is what high-school hockey is supposed to be all about, where fans show up and it’s a lot of fun to play,” Kovick said. “Most of these kids play in front of their families the whole time they’re playing travel or house league, and to have an environment like this is fantastic.”