CALUMET - The Calumet Wolverines outshot Portage Lake 47-38 Friday night, took an early lead, created more chances on 11 total power plays and enjoyed a deeper, fresher bench with eight Pioneers sick or missing.
And Portage Lake won 8-2.
Portage Lake Pioneers forward Ryan Sullivan drives to the net against Calumet goaltender Ryan Patrick during Friday’s Great Lakes Hockey League game at Calumet Colosseum. The Pioneers won 8-2. (DMG photo by Michael Bleach)
"I don't think we had a very strong game to be honest," Portage Lake forward Kent Daavettila, who led the Pioneers with two goals and an assist, said. "The puck just happened to be going in the net for us. Some good puck luck tonight."
Good puck luck and strong goaltending.
Former Finlandia netminder Mike Wuthrich picked up the start for the Pioneers and turned away 45 of the 47 shots he faced, including multiple attempts on several five-on-threes. His rebound control was especially important as he gloved a majority of shots or kicked them harmlessly away.
Portage Lake 2 4 2 - 8
Calumet 1 1 0 - 2
First period - 1, Cal, Isaac Bjorn (Mike Babock), 3:03; 2, Por, Charlie Turner (Pete Heinonen, Alan L'Esperance), 7:00; 3, Por, Evan Kangas (Trey Saari, Mike Stevens), 13:43.
Second period - 4, Por, Kent Daavettila (Turner, Joe VanTassel), 1:44; 5, Por, Ryan Sullivan, 4:39; 6, Cal, Josh Harju (Logan Rastello), 8:39; 7, Por, Kangas (Saari, L'Esperance); 8, Por, Roger Lewis (Daavettila, Heinonen).
Third period - 9, Por, VanTassel (Lewis); 10, Por, Daavettila (Turner, Mike Stevens).
Penalties - Portage, 11-22; Calumet, 6-12.
Goalie saves - Portage, Mike Wuthrich 45 saves; Calumet, Ryan Patrick 30 saves.
"Our goalie played phenomenal," Daavettila said. "We weren't always very helpful on defense. He held us together and made some big stops."
Wuthrich acted as the No. 1 penalty killer as well, with Portage holding Calumet to 1-for-11 with a man (or more) advantage.
"He is a real steady goaltender," McCarthy said. "He has the college experience and he handled the first shot and I think our defense did a good job taking away second and third opportunities."
The Wolverines started the game strong with Isaac Bjorn punching home a Mike Babcock shot just over three minutes in. Portage responded quickly though with Charlie Turner netting after a pass from Pete Heinonen freed him up and the Pioneers took a one-goal lead at the end of the period with Evan Kangas slapping in a rebound that bounced up from Calumet goalie Ryan Patrick's glove.
Despite relatively even play, Portage Lake continued to score in the second and and third periods while Calumet stalled around the net.
Daavettila opened the second period with some nice stick handling in the slot before slotting one top shelf.
"Just good linemates," Daavettila said of Ryan Sullivan and Roger Lewis with a smile. "For real though, good linemates making good passes and I just got the puck in good areas."
Sullivan, Kangas and Lewis all lit the lamp in the second period to give the Pioneers a commanding 6-2 lead at intermission, before Joe VanTassel and Daavettila finished the scoring in the final period.
"I think our skill level is pretty high and we have some older guys with strength to them," McCarthy said. "We bounce off the checks a bit more, control the puck better. So while (Calumet) may have outworked us some, I think we were more efficient tonight. ... Kent was a horse tonight. He goes through people and around them."
The teams meet again tonight at Dee Stadium.