Hancock tops Escanaba 9-3

Hancock’s Alex Nordstrom (10) handles the puck during the first period against Escanaba Saturday in Wells. (Avery Bundgaard/Daily Press)

WELLS — The Hancock Bulldogs broke open a tied game in the third period when it exploded for six goals on the way to a 9-3 win over Escanaba Saturday.

“The first two periods weren’t up to our standards normally, but I thought Escanaba played really well,” Hancock coach Dan Rouleau said. “That’s one of the reasons we weren’t very good was because they were good. To come out in the third period and get one less shot on goal than we did in the first two periods combined was huge. The guys wanted to come out with a win and they did convincingly.”

The Eskymos (4-10) came to play right away as Grant LaMarche scored just 1:56 into the game off of an assist from Grant Wickham and Hayden Haslow.

“It’s very uplifting for us to have a fast start and score in the first few shifts of the game,” Esky coach Matt Hughes said. “That’s typically a goal we set as a team so it’s nice to see them follow through with that.”

It didn’t take too long for the Bulldogs (15-3) to answer as Colton Salani scored off an assist from Carter Nettell and Teddy Perrault just six minutes later to tie the game at 1 going into the second period.

The Bulldogs outshot the Eskymos in the first period 14-9.

Esky again started off fast scoring just 1:27 into the second period with a goal from Aaron Young assisted by Blaine Reinhart.

But just like in the first period Hancock answered with a goal of its own from Alex Nordstrom off a breakaway steal a couple minutes later.

The Eskymos scored again to take a 3-2 lead with 8:12 left in the second period off a goal from Wickham assisted by Haslow.

“I thought we had a good start,” said Hughes, whose team lost 8-2 at Hancock Thursday night. “I thought we played competitive. You never know what to expect when you play a team two days prior when they beat us up pretty good. To come out and start like we did in the first two period was very good for our club.”

But just like the first two Esky goals, Hancock had an answer. Not even two minutes later Salani scored for the Bulldogs to tie the game at 3 entering the final period.

“When you’re in a hockey game and the other team scores, you want to as quickly as possible stop their momentum,” Rouleau said. “A sign of a good team is when you come back from the one goal deficits like we did.”

The Eskymos were aggressive, outshooting the Bulldogs 10-3 in the second period.

Then something clicked for the Bulldogs coming out of the break as they scored six goals in the third period to close out the game.

Hancock scored 1:26 into the third period and scored all six goals within the first 9:30 including three from Austin Salani.

“The big thing coming into the third period was getting that first goal and we got it,” Rouleau said. “We said, ‘OK we got that goal, now let’s get the second one right away,’ and we got the second one shortly after that. Now we got them back on their heels a little bit. It’s huge to come out and play the way we’re capable of playing in the third.”

The Bulldogs outshot the Eskymos 16-9 in the final period.

Next up, Hancock hosts Calumet Tuesday at 7 p.m.

– – –

Hancock 1 2 6 — 9

Escanaba 1 2 0 — 3

First period

Escanaba — LaMarche (Wickham, Haslow), 1:56, 1-0.

Hancock — C. Salani (Nettell, Perrault), 8:12, 1-1.

Second period

Escanaba — Young (Reinhart), 1:27, 2-1.

Hancock — Nordstrom, 3:27, 2-2

Escanaba — Wickham (Haslow), 8:46, 3-2

Hancock — C. Salani (Nettell, Bry. Randell), 10:09, 3-3

Third period

Hancock — A. Salani (Nordstrom, Anderson), 1:26, 4-3

Hancock — Nordstrom (A. Salani, Turcotte), 4:57, 5-3

Hancock — Tchida (Pietila, Bry. Randell), 6:46, 6-3

Hancock — A. Salani (Nordstrom), 7:16, 7-3

Hancock — A. Salani (Anderson, Nordstrom), 7:30, 8-3

Hancock — C. Salani (Bry. Randell), 9:28, 9-3

Saves

Hancock: Kero 25; Escanaba: Denome 24.

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