River Ridge coaching staff Dylan Hultberg and Kevin Guay knew what they were getting themselves into as the Knights visited the Freedom Patriots in Wesley Chapel coming off a week in which Freedom captain Owen Barno was named September player of the month for dominating the Lightning High School Hockey League scoring leaderboards in every aspect. Their mission was to shut down the defensive zone scrambling they saw during their loss the week before, and to play any scoring opportunity they found efficiently and effectively.
The first period was a game of testing and adapting as both teams went without yielding a single penalty or allowing double-digit shots from the adversary. The game was neck and neck with the only advantage being Freedom’s nine shots to River Ridge’s five.
Similar to the first period, the only action of the game thus far occurred after Freedom forward Cameron Martin took a hot-headed penalty for elbowing with 3:09 remaining in the period. River Ridge knew they had to capitalize on any opportunity provided, so their top line went out for the penalty and managed to put the first numbers on the scoreboard 40 seconds into the penalty as Nicholas Santoyo gave the puck to Derian Brown to make the lead 1-0.
River Ridge came out of the second intermission looking determined. Their top line was out, and the mission to double the lead was clear as Alec Wilson gave a cross-crease pass to Derian Brown for his second goal of the night. Freedom would respond with an onslaught of shots on goal, but Daniel McCarthy would deny all of them as he secured the 2-0 Shutout victory with 30 saves. Freedom Goalie Jacob Sanders would do what he could, but no matter the .895 save percentage, he would be given a loss with no help on the other end of the ice.