ESCANABA - Right out of the gate, the momentum was in the hands of the Hancock Bulldogs Saturday. They had the lead, they were playing hard-nosed defense, and they had the Escanaba Eskymos frustrated. They had the Eskymos right where they wanted them.
The game looked like it was all but over, but Escanaba suddenly flipped the script and pulled out the 4-3 overtime victory.
The Bulldogs outshot the Eskymos 12-7 and they made themselves at home in the Escanaba zone most of the first period. Hancock (12-11) held a 2-1 lead heading into the second period, and they were controlling the pace.
Dylan Hanke was having a great game, contributing one goal and one assist in the first period for the Bulldogs.
There were plenty of power play opportunities both ways, but neither team was able to capitalize and the Bulldogs carried their one-goal lead into the final period of regulation.
However, Escanaba tied the game on a power play goal by Derek Chaillier that followed a face-off in the Hancock zone. The score was 2-2 and time was winding down in the third period when Hanke was called for a tripping penalty.
Hancock 2 0 1 0 3
Escanaba 1 0 2 1 4
First Period - 1, Han D. Hanke (W. Hanke), 5:58; 2, Han Lepisto (D. Hanke), 13:00; 3, Esc Vandermissen (Myrick, Eastin).
Second Period - No scoring.
Third Period - 4, Esc Chaillier (Vandermissen), 9:39 (PP); 5, Han W. Hanke (A. Hill), 13:40 (SH) ; 6, Esc Eastin (Wunder, Vandermissen), 16:33
Overtime - 7, Esc Wunder (Lyle), 5:42
Shots on goal: Hancock 30, Escanaba 45
Goalie saves: Hancock (Lucier) 41, Escanaba (LeMire) 27
Penalties: Hancock 6-12, Escanaba 6-12
The Eskymos found themselves in the power play once again with a chance to win a game they'd struggled with from the start. But everything backfired when Hancock's Wade Hanke put in a short-handed goal to give his team the 3-2 lead.
The Eskymos pulled their goalie as the final minute wound down. And with 27 seconds remaining in the game, Escanaba's Jake Eastin saved the game when he scored off of a rebound to force overtime.
"The biggest thing was, the kids just didn't give up," Escanaba coach Tim McCarthy said.
After a tripping penalty by the Eskymos' TJ Myrick, Hancock was in the power play. But the Bulldogs could not convert. After Escanaba got back to full strength, Levi Wunder went to the top shelf to score his 41st goal of the season and give his team the win.
"That's how the game goes," said Hancock coach Dan Rouleau. "They were able to capitalize. It's disappointing when you get scored on that late in the game. And then to come back in overtime with a nice shot like that just adds to it.
"My goalie played it well, it was just a perfect shot over his shoulder."
Hancock plays at home Tuesday against Kingsford.