Bulldogs win third straight by topping Kingsford
IRON MOUNTAIN — Hancock’s pinball goal in the second period had to have been the work of some scarred and toothless hockey god with a sense of humor.
The Bulldogs’ go-ahead goal late in the second period came on the fortunate bounces of a shot from Brody Budweg at the point that redirected off Devyn LaCourt’s shoulder and then Trevor Tchida’s upper back, near his neck, and into the net.
It proved to be the winning goal as the Bulldogs (15-8, 9-1 Great Lakes Hockey Conference) beat Kingsford 3-1 in GLHC action on Thursday.
“I don’t know how that made it through, it was one of them seeing-eye pucks that made it through to the back of the net,” Hancock coach Dan Rouleau said.
Kingsford assistant coach Mike Erkkila, whose vantage point was directly behind the shot, noted the initial shot was initially headed wide of the net before the deflections. The unlikely goal stemmed from a Kingsford turnover off a breakout pass seconds before surrendering Tchida’s goal.
Even after Hancock’s go-ahead goal late in the second, Peterson said he liked the effort in the third period to tie the game before the Bulldogs ultimately found a late insurance goal with 1:49 remaining.
“The kids didn’t quit, they skated hard,” Peterson said. “We played hard and that’s what we’re going to have to do the rest of the year no matter who it is. If we can keep playing like this for the last three games and go into the playoffs, that’s what you want at the end of the year.”
The Flivvers (8-11-1) had tied the game with five minutes remaining in the second period on a power-play goal by Alek Shanks. Eamonn Weed assisted.
“We turned so many pucks over tonight in the neutral zone and we said Kingsford’s going to get one on us and they did,” Rouleau said. “Then we turned around and made that turnover and got that shot that hit a couple bodies.”
Hancock goaltender Dawson Kero made 33 saves, while Kingsford’s Trevor Anderson made 25. Rouleau said it was a goaltender battle for much of the game as both defenses kept shots out of the high-percentage slot area in front of the net.
“I thought we both had chances throughout the game,” Rouleau said. “If one of us capitalizes at a certain point, then they take it. Both of us had a hard time scoring tonight — very good goaltending battle. Not in the grade-A area so much but we both got a lot of shots on net. Not a lot of in tight shots or great scoring chances.”
Kingsford coach Jim Peterson was happy to see Hancock have to lash an offensive attack together from around the outside of the slot area.
“That’s what we really like to see. That’s what we worked on the last couple days too is taking care of that slot area,” Peterson said. “Not panicking with the puck and we dumped it in. We didn’t have too many turnovers on the offensive blue line. Didn’t give up a lot of odd-man rushes.”
Kingsford plays in the Lake Superior Hockey Conference tournament this weekend in Houghton. The Flivvers return to the Copper Country to play at Hancock on Monday.
Hancock plays at Escanaba on Saturday.
Hancock 1 1 1 — 3
Kingsford 0 1 0 — 1
H — Devyn LaCourt (Teddy Randell, Lance Kangas), power-play, 5:37.
K — Ethan Fox (hooking), 6:37.
K — Alek Shanks (Eamonn Weed), power-play, 4:46.
H — Trevor Tchida (LaCourt, Brody Budweg), 0:09.
K — Daunte Fortner (head contact), 6:37.
H — LaCourt (hooking), 11:20.
H — Teddy Perrault (slashing), 6:41.
H — Kangas (Randell), 1:49.
H — Bryan Lepisto (holding), 14:44.
Shots on goal: Hancock 28, Kingsford 34.
Saves: Dawson Kero (Hancock) 33, Trevor Anderson (Kingsford) 25.