WELLS - The L'Anse hockey team will be leaving from the Dick Johnsen Memorial tournament a few hours later than usual today.
And the Purple Hornets certainly don't mind because they'll be playing for a championship after opening with an 8-2 triumph Monday night over the Negaunee Miners at the Wells Sports Complex.
The victory enables L'Anse (3-2) to face host Escanaba (5-4) in today's title contest at 2:15.
"It's exciting to be able to play for a championship," said senior Bryant Froberg, who scored four times Monday. "We have to come out and skate hard and play physical. We also need to put pressure on their forwards."
Jeffers (2-8), which dropped a 2-0 decision to Esky Monday, faces Negaunee (0-11) in today's consolation game at noon.
Froberg opened the scoring unassisted on a breakaway five minutes, 26 seconds into the contest.
Junior Scott Gerzetich gave L'Anse a two-goal cushion on a wrist shot from inside the point at 12:49. Freshman Devin Bowers then gave the Purple Hornets a 3-0 lead on a slapshot from the high slot at 13:30.
Senior Brandon O'Brien got the Miners on the board following a scramble in front of the net just 71 seconds into the second stanza. Froberg, however, beat a pair of Negaunee defensemen to the puck and scored on another breakaway to put L'Anse up 4-1 at the 4:10 mark.
Froberg hit his third goal on a power play from the left point, giving L'Anse a 5-1 advantage at
7:51 and junior Alex VanWagner gave the Hornets a five-goal advantage on a backhanded shot from the bottom of the faceoff circle at 9:27.
"In the first period, I thought we didn't play very well," said L'Anse coach Bill Rousseau. "We gave them too many scoring opportunities. Fortunately, Kodi (goaltender Jahfetson) made some nice saves. I felt we hit our stride in the second period."
Froberg completed his scoring 1:29 into the third frame by going top shelf from inside the left circle and sophomore Casey Richard gave L'Anse an 8-1 advantage on a slapshot from the point at 5:58.
"I played the way I knew I could and got on a roll, and our passing clicked well for the most part," said Froberg.
Negaunee finished the scoring on Lucas Christianson's slapshot from the high slot at 10:48.
"Give credit to Negaunee," said Rousseau. "Their kids played hard, and they didn't quit. I think our kids are fired up. We've played well in our last two games."
L'Anse outshot Negaunee 24-23, with Jahfetson recording 21 saves. Negaunee junior Austin Rice stopped 16 shots.
"We had some lapses of responsibility," said Negaunee coach Fred Dick. "We need to work on finishing shots. They (L'Anse) have a couple good players. No. 10 and 11 (Froberg and VanWagner) were tough to stop tonight. It's not like we're totally disappointed, only we didn't play as well as we did in some of our other games this year."