Hancock blanks TCC 6-0

The Bulldogs' Austin Salani controls the puck in the offensive zone during the first period of a game against the Trojans Saturday at the Houghton County Arena. (Daver Karnosky/Daily Mining Gazette)

HANCOCK — Before the season began, Hancock head coach Dan Rouleau knew what he how much scoring he had in his top line thanks to the fact that captain Teddy Randell and assistant captain Alex Nordstrom were back for a third year together. The duo played a big part in the Bulldogs early-season wins but was effectively shut down on Friday in a 2-1 loss to Hartland.

They were held in check again on Saturday against Traverse City Central, but the Bulldogs’ second line of sophomore Colton Salani, freshman Austin Salani and sophomore Peter Anderson broke through in a big way as all three scored in a 6-0 blanking of the Trojans Saturday afternoon at the Houghton County Arena.

The elder Salani felt very comfortable alongside his brother and their friend.

“We have been playing with him in Bantam travel,” said Colton. “We know what he is going to do and he knows what we want to do. We work well together.”

Colton capped a four-point afternoon with his power-play goal 5:45 into the third period. He batted a rebound past Trojans goaltender Spencer Torres for the tally.

At the time, the sophomore had no idea he had picked up his fourth point.

“Actually, I didn’t [know],” said Colton. “I guess I wasn’t thinking about that. I guess I was just focused on getting more production out of our second line that hadn’t been there yet.”

Anderson scored on the power play in the first period at 14:48 and Austin struck just 3:47 into the second. Rouleau was pleased to get some scoring from his second unit.

“Everybody knows that Teddy and Nordy are the big cogs in our offense, but we have some other talented players too,” said Rouleau. “It was nice to see them get on the scoresheet. Colton is a very skilled hockey player.”

The Trojans, who were coming off a 5-2 loss on Friday to Houghton, hung tough with the Bulldogs through the first 20 minutes of play. Head coach Chris Givens admitted that his team’s yearly trip to the Copper Country is always tough.

“That’s exactly why we make the trip,” said Givens. “You know every time you come up here, it is going to be six periods where you are going to be challenged. You are going to have to play. If you don’t, you see what happens.”

Givens was pleased that his team kept Nordstrom and Randell to just one point — a goal from Randell to open the scoring — but he also knew that Hancock is a deep team with talent on all of their lines.

“They are good athletes and that goes a long way,” said Givens. “They don’t give the puck away a lot. They are confident.”

The Bulldogs struck just 5:36 into the contest when Randell took a lead pass from Colton Salani and beat Torres with a deke to his forehand in close.

While the Bulldogs added to that lead with a power-play goal just under 10 minutes later, it wasn’t until Austin Salani struck early in the second that the game turned in their favor.

“I thought we played well in the first, but when we came out in the second and lit the lamp three minutes in, we had the three-goal lead,” said Rouleau. “It was a huge goal. It’s nice to go up 3-0. It’s hard to come back from that.”

Senior Tyler Brunet extended the Bulldogs’ lead to four with a shot from the right point that beat Torres at 8:43 of the second.

Junior Teddy Perrault added a power-play marker three minutes after Brunet’s to put Hancock up 5-0 heading into the final frame.

The Bulldogs ended the day with three power-play goals. Despite the success, Rouleau felt there is still for that part of Hancock’s game to improve.

“We just changed our power play,” said Rouleau. “It takes a while to get it clicking. We aren’t using all the options on it because we haven’t had a chance to practice them all.”

With the win, the Bulldogs improve to 4-1 on the season and will prepare to host Negaunee on Thursday.

– – –

Traverse City   0  0  0 – 0

Hancock  2  3  1 – 6

1st Period

1, HAN, Teddy Randell (Colton Salani), 5:36

2, HAN, Petr Anderson (Teddy Randell), PP, 14:48

2nd Period

3, HAN, Austin Salani (Colton Salani, Bradley Randell), 3:47

4, HAN, Tyler Brunet, 8:43

5, HAN, Teddy Perrault (Colton Salani, Trevor Tchida), PP, 11:43

3rd Period

6, HAN, Colton Salani (Tchida, Perrault), PP, 5:45

Saves

Torres  8  8  5 – 21

Kero  11  3  9 – 23

Penalties

TCC: 6/15; HAN: 6/15

Power Plays

TCC: 0/4; HAN: 3/5

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