Hancock comes back, defeats Brother Rice 6-4
HANCOCK — For 33 minutes Saturday, the visiting Brother Rice Warriors played a nearly perfect game. They held a 3-1 lead at the Houghton County Arena and the Hancock Bulldogs looked like a shell-shocked opponent, throwing pucks away and running around in their own end.
That all changed in the final minute of the second period. Assistant captain Alex Nordstrom exploded down the ice and beat Warriors’ goaltender Pierce Cadieux with a backhand at 16:12.
With a shorthanded goal by captain Teddy Randell just 24 seconds into the third, the Bulldogs rolled from there to a 6-4 victory.
Randell led the charge for the Bulldogs, scoring four times, including three in the final frame of the contest.
“We didn’t come out as we wanted to,” Randell said. “Between the second and third, we said, ‘We still had a chance … We are still in this, but we have to come out now, and we did.”
The Bulldogs (6-1) were outshot through the first two periods 36-9, but goalie Dawson Kero kept them within striking distance, allowing for Nordstrom and Randell’s connection on the shorthanded play to even the game at 3.
Bulldogs head coach Dan Rouleau could not ask for any more from his senior netminder.
“Dawson gives us a chance to win every night,” said Rouleau. “In a game like this, he gave us a chance to come back. We don’t come back in a game like this unless we get great goaltending.”
Searching for a reason for the slow start after the game, Randell felt that he and his teammates took the Warriors, who had tied the Houghton Gremlins 2-2 on Friday, for granted at the start of the game.
“I think we came out slow,” Randell said. “That was a good team we were playing … We didn’t realize that that team is a good hockey team. We took them for granted and we came out flat.
“At the end of the day, we got the job done.”
The Warriors hemmed the Bulldogs in their own end for much of the first period and were rewarded with three power plays. They fired 21 shots at Kero, but it took a forehand deke in close by Joe Serra, shorthanded, for Brother Rice to even the score at 1-1 at 14:17.
Brother Rice (3-4-1) added to their lead in the middle frame with two goals 25 seconds apart from Connor Cadieux and Chris Andoni, with Andoni’s coming on a power play.
Warriors coach Kenny Chaput was pleased with the effort his team was putting in at that point in the game.
“It was probably two of our better periods, if not our best periods back-to-back, of hockey all year,” Chaput said. “We put ourselves in a really good spot and we let it get away from us.”
The Warriors continued to put pressure on Kero, but the senior stood his ground, keeping the Bulldogs within striking distance until Nordstrom’s late-period tally.
After Randell’s game-tying goal in the third, the Bulldogs pushed back hard against the Warriors, keeping the visitors chasing pucks rather than controlling them.
The game remained even until Randell, who also scored on the power play in the opening frame, was fed a cross-ice pass from senior Travis Pietila in stride. Randell flew past a Warriors’ defender and was alone with Pierce Cadieux before beating him with a shot that rang off the right post and in at 9:18 for the hat trick.
Pietila then added to the Bulldogs’ lead less than two minutes later when he raced to catch up to a pass along the left boards and fired a wrist shot at the net that beat Cadieux over the glove.
Chaput pulled his goaltender with 59.8 seconds remaining in regulation, and the Warriors were able to take advantage of a late-game power play and the extra skater to trim the deficit to 5-4 when Nick Marone scored with 20 seconds left.
That was as close as they would get, however, as Randell added an empty-net goal with just two seconds remaining in the contest.
Next, Hancock goes to Marquette on Thursday.
– – –
Brother Rice 1 2 1 – 4
Hancock 1 1 4 – 6
Hancock- Teddy Randell (Alex Nordstrom, Colton Salani), 15:34, 1-0.
Brother Rice- Joe Serra, 14:17, 1-1.
Brother Rice- Connor Cadieux (Garrett Moore, Dylan McNulty), 7:54, 2-1.
Brother Rice- Chris Andoni (Nick Marone), 8:19, 3-1.
Hancock- Alex Nordstrom (Jakob Vettori), 16:12, 3-2.
Hancock- Randell (Nordstrom), :24, 3-3.
Hancock- Randell (Travis Pietila, Tyler Turcotte), 9:18, 4-3
Hancock- Pietila (Michael Stuber), 11:03, 5-3.
Brother Rice- Marone (Moore, Luke Kafati), 16:40, 5-4.
Hancock- Randell, 16:58, 6-4.
Brother Rice: Cadieux 11.
Hancock: Kero 43.
Brother Rice 5/10; Hancock: 9/18.
Brother Rice: 2/7; Hancock: 1/3.