MARYLAND HEIGHTS — CBC senior Thomas Ramer came ready to play - literally.
The Cadets defenseman came straight from his junior game at Affton with half of his Junior Blues gear on and arrived just in time for CBC’s opening game against Lafayette in a Mid-States Club Hockey Association Challenge Cup semifinal series at the Centene Community Ice Center on Saturday night.
“Super crazy,” Ramer said. “I was driving my car, eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in half my equipment just trying to get here.”
The warmup game served Ramer well as he contributed a goal and an assist to lead CBC to a 4-1 win.
Game 2 of the series will be next Saturday night with a winner-take-all minigame if needed immediately after.
Jack Hercules, Hunter Bulger and Michael Kennedy also scored for CBC (16-2-4). Jack Solomon made 13 saves.
Two quick goals early in the third iced the game for the Cadets.
Bulger started the salvo with a wrister from the slot at the 3 minute, 31 second mark to make it 3-1. It was the first goal since January 11 for the CBC sniper, who saw his first action since that game after breaking his collar bone in a Triple-A contest in Florida.
“I blacked out,” Bulger said. “I don’t even remember what I did before or after I scored. It felt really good.”
Kennedy’s second goal of the playoffs came 53 seconds later, giving the Cadets a three-goal lead.
“I thought the first two periods that we were OK,” CBC coach John Jost said. “We all agreed between the second and third periods that we could be a lot better and those two woke us up.”
Samuel Rubenstein scored and Konner Canova made 23 saves for Lafayette (12-7-3).
“CBC’s a deeper team than we are, but we’ve got to take advantage of our chances,” Lafayette coach Jim Carrico said. “We had a power play that we didn’t do so hot on. I call it roller hockey speed where you just take your time and they pressured us. We’ll fix it.”
Ramer gave CBC the lead with a booming slapshot from the point that found the upper left corner with 5:06 left in the first period.
“It’s kind of what we expect from him,” Jost said. “He gave us a lift. Big shot, which he has done for us in the past. He’s a senior. A very good hockey player and team player.”
That experience helped Ramer keep his composure, even though he walked through the Centene doors just 10 minutes before game time.
“It throws me off my routine a little bit, but I was just focused on working hard and just got ready,” Ramer said.
It could have been a bigger lead, but Canova made a couple of brilliant saves on a tip and rebound off the stick of Sam Carosello midway through the opening frame.
Rubenstein tied it 1-1 at the 1:58 mark of the second period, ripping a shot directly off a faceoff deep in the Cadets zone.
Hercules wasted no time regaining the lead for CBC, tipping in a perfect feed from Alex Robinson on a 2-on-1 at 4:41 of the second.
Both teams are ready for Game 2.
“We’ve got to be ready to go,” Carrico said. “You’re going to see a different team next Saturday night and we’re going to give them everything they can handle.”