Bulldogs have no answers for Eagles, fall 7-1
HANCOCK — For 34 minutes, the Hancock Bulldogs were within striking distance of the defending Michigan Division 1 state champion Hartland Eagles Friday afternoon at the Houghton County Arena.
Then things went south as the Bulldogs ran out of gas against a bigger, deeper opponent, as Hancock gave up three goals in the third period to lose, 7-1.
“They are playing three, maybe four lines at times and we are going two, maybe three once in a awhile,” said Bulldogs coach Dan Rouleau. “You can expect (that we will wear down) as the game goes on a little bit.”
For coach Rick Gadwa’s Eagles, the scoring was indicative of the way his team performed throughout the night. They played OK for the first period, a little better in the second and then had their best period during the final 17 minutes.
“Overall (I was) pleased with my team’s ability to climb the ladder as the game went on,” said Gadwa. “I think we got a little sharper (and we) started connecting on more of our passes and playing the team game as the game progressed.”
While the Eagles are off to a little bit of a slow start to their season, Gadwa likes the direction his team is moving.
“I like what this team is doing,” he said. “They are a little bit unorthodox. They do it in a little bit (of a) different way, but they are coming along.”
The teams battled evenly until the Eagles’ Johnny Druskinis found some open ice in the right faceoff circle in the Bulldogs’ end. Waiting things out, he roofed a shot over Bulldogs goaltender Phillip Rios at 5:47 to put Hartland up, 1-0.
Both teams had chances to either extend or even the contest over the next six minutes before Brenden Tulpa knocked a rebound past Rios on the power play to put the Eagles up 2-0.
Penalties continued to be a problem for Hancock. The Eagles’ power play goal came during Bulldogs winger Bryce Randell’s second straight penalty. After serving his first infraction, Randell stepped on the ice and was almost immediately whistled for tripping after getting into an altercation shortly after his exit.
With senior Trevor Tchida out already for the second of his two-game suspension for spearing, the Bulldogs could not afford to lose another senior for any length of time when Randell made his way back to the box. Also, Anderson was lost to injury during the second period.
“We need to cut the penalty situation down a little bit,” said Rouleau. “It wasn’t too bad today, but you can’t take too many when you are the weaker team.
“When you lose of your top forwards, now you putting really young guys into positions where you would rather not until the end of the season.”
In the second period, the Bulldogs had a great opportunity to cut the Eagles’ lead down to one in the opening seconds as junior Petr Anderson picked up the puck at his own blue line, skated it deep into Eagles’ territory and fired a wrist shot, but Brett Tome was there to make one of his 15 saves on the night.
Less than two minutes later, the Eagles extended their lead when Max McIllmurray found the net.
Just 3:01 later, the Bulldogs answered with a power play marker. Junior center Colton Salani got the puck high in the left circle and fired a wrist shot that bounced off the right post and past Tome for the goal.
Unfortunately, nearly four minutes later, the Eagles regained their three-goal lead for good when Joey Larson tipped one home.
Owen Pietila, Larson, and Dakota Kott all found the net in the third with Larson and Kott scoring on long shots with Rios down on his knees. Larson and Kott’s goals came 1:10 apart.
The Eagles will face the Gremlins today at 1 p.m. The Bulldogs will host the Traverse City Trojans, who lost to Houghton Friday, 6-5.
Hartland 2 2 3 – 7
Hancock 0 1 0 – 1
1, HAR, Johnny Druskinis (Sam Kastamo), 5:47
2, HAR, Brenden Tulpa (Kieran Carlile, Druskinis), PP, 11:54
3, HAR, Max McIllmurray (Trent Krause, Shane Paxton), 2:08
4, HCH, Colton Salani (Bradley Randell, Bryce Randell), PP, 5:09
5, HAR, Joey Larson (Dakota Kott, Adam Pietila), 8:52
6, HAR, Owen Pietila (Kostamo, Gabe Anderson), 2:51
7, HAR, Larson (Druskinis, Kott), PP, 13:01
8, HAR, Kott (Anderson), 14:11
HAR, Tome 5 8 2 – 15
HCH, Rios 9 11 10 – 30
HAR: 1/4; HCH: 1/3
HAR: 5/10; HCH: 6/12