Brentwood suffers OT defeat in hockey championship


Brentwood suffers OT defeat in hockey championship

It took sudden-death overtime for the Brentwood Bruins and Centennial Cougars to decide who was going to leave the ice with the Predators Cup Saturday night. While both teams fought relentlessly to the very end, everyone in Bridgestone Arena was blindsided by the game’s final blow.  

Photos by JENNIFER ROBERTS for BHP

It took sudden-death overtime for the Brentwood Bruins and Centennial Cougars to decide who was going to leave the ice with the Predators Cup Saturday night. While both teams fought relentlessly to the very end, everyone in Bridgestone Arena was blindsided by the game’s final blow.  

Just five and a half minutes into OT, Centennial forward Kyle Kawamura gained control of the puck and glided towards the Brentwood net. After swerving through traffic, he delivered a shot near the right goalpost.

As the crowd gasped, BHS goalie Daniel Falls slid in and trapped the puck into his side.

After everyone on the ice began to recoup after what seemed to be another stop by Falls, the Centennial bench erupted as the ref signaled a score had been made.

“We’re watching and we see the ref’s arm go up, so we thought he just might be stopping the play,” said CHS head coach Paul Currie. “And then he just holds his hand there. It took just that second to say ‘wait a minute, did he just announce a goal?'”

Falls had made the initial save. But a few moments later, the puck found a way to escape his body and drop onto the ice behind him for the game-winner.

“I didn’t even see it go in,” Kawamura said. “All I saw was the ref’s hand go up.”

The score gave CHS a 2-1 victory and its first Predators Cup since 2001.

“It’s the best feeling in the world,” said CHS forward Kendrick Jones. “To go out like this as a senior, there’s nothing better.”

The Cougars’ path to the championship wasn’t an easy one. After they suffered a 4-2 loss to Brentwood in the second round of the tournament on February 21, they were sentenced to battle in the loser’s bracket.

From there, they defeated Pope John Paul II, Hendersonville and reigning champion Ravenwood between Wednesday and Friday to earn the championship berth.

“These boys gave me everything,” Currie stated. “We just wrapped up four games in four days. They left absolutely everything on the ice. They just brought it. I’m so proud of each and every one of them.”

While the matchup ended in Centennial’s favor, it started as Brentwood’s game to lose.

Just a little over four minutes into the opening period, BHS forward Spencer Pennisi delivered a backhand shot into the top right corner of the goal to give the Bruins a 1-0 lead. The score was set up by forward William Haberer and defenseman Ryan Mascali.

The next goal wasn’t scored until there was 4:44 remaining in the second after Centennial’s Jones put one into the left side of the net to tie the game at one. Cameron Henderson and Kawamura were both credited with assists.

Neither team was able to catch a break in the third as Brentwood’s Falls and Centennial goalie Camden Napier stopped every shot in its tracks.

In overtime, it was all CHS as the Cougars constantly put pressure around Falls, who made many difficult stops until Kawamura squeaked one in to win the game.

“The first thing I told Daniel (Falls) when we got back to the locker room was for him think about all of the saves he did make,” said BHS coach Chris Orem. “He’s kept us in a lot of games. I’m not saying this because he’s my goaltender, but I think he’s one of the best goaltenders in the league.”

Even though the Bruins lost on Saturday, their season isn’t over. Because they placed first in the Greater Nashville Area Scholastic Hockey League standings this season, they will compete in the USA Hockey High School Varsity National Championships in Omaha, NE from Mar. 26-30.

Brentwood enters the national tournament with a 16-6-1 record (one shootout loss). For Centennial, it caps off its season with a 14-10-1 record (1 SOL) after its championship win Saturday.

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