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Jeremy Ambrose had two goals and two assists and Mike Deford added two goals as Cherokee defeated Eastern 6-3 to force a deciding game on Monday night in the Tier I double elimination tournament. Maxim Kuznetsov scored all three Eastern goals. Deford scored the only goal of the first period as he deflected a point shot by Jake Frankenfield to put the Chiefs up 1-0. Ambrose made the play along the boards as he kept the puck in and feed Frankenfield with Deford crossing in front and deflecting the shot into the net. Frankenfield had a strong game on defense as he shadowed Kuznetsov on the ice all night.

With the Chiefs on the power play midway through the second period Kuznetsov broke in and scored short-handed to tie the game at 1-1. Moment’s later still on the power play, Ambrose deflected a shot from the point by Hunter Ray and the Chiefs had the lead back at 2-1. After Eastern had a chance of their own on the power play and failed to capitalize, Sam Libetti broke down the right side and skated around the net and found Sam Burger down low on the short side and he deposited the puck into the net and a 3-1 lead. With the period winding down and on another power play, Cherokee turned the puck over down low and Kuznetsov made them pay as he scored his second short-handed goal and the lead was down to 3-2 and the Vikings fans were alive. 

Ambrose found Deford at the nine minute mark as his pass from behind the net was right on the stick and Deford had his second of the night, none bigger and the lead was 4-2. Four minutes later the Chiefs broke in 3-on-2 and Darren Ambrose would connect and the lead was now 5-2. The Vikings would get a third goal from Kuznetsov with four minutes left but Ambrose ended the suspense adding an empty net goal in the final seconds. 

Notes: Cherokee played a strong game defensively as when Kuznetsov was on the ice he had everyone’s attention, Eastern will need some of the other players to step up if they want to take the title away from Cherokee. If the Chiefs get this kind of contributions from all their lines, it could be a long night for the Vikings. 

Written by Mike Costantino

Posted in: Cherokee, Eastern
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