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Champs: Portage Lake earns Yooper Cup in shootout

Photo provided to the Daily Mining Gazette The Portage Lake Flyers 12U team, who won the Yooper Cup over the weekend, is shown posing with the trophy. Team members include Brit Heinonen, Conner Polkky, Zach Geborkoff, Bryce Hanner, Kailob Bianco, Connor Raffaelli, Matthew Guilbault, Liam Pomroy, Addison Hembroff, Max Heinonen, Cooper Leonard, Jace DeForge, Cannon Mayo, Ian Nordstrom, Bryant Lee and Andrew Lampinen.

MARQUETTE — Over the past weekend, the Portage Lake Flyers 12U hockey team fought all the way to the finals in the inaugural Yooper Cup tournament this past weekend at Lakeview Arena in Marquette.

The Yooper Cup was started as a way of getting four U.P. teams and four L.P. teams together for a statewide hockey competition.

Portage Lake opened their schedule with a game against the Traverse City North Stars in which the teams battled to a 3-3 tie.

Connor Raffaeli struck twice in the first and third periods and Cooper Leonard added a goal in the second.

In their second game, Portage Lake took on Petosky. The yoopers struck four times in each period en route to a 12-1 win.

Liam Pomroy, Matthew Guilbault, Raffaelli and Kailob Bianco all potted first period goals. Leonard, Jace DeForge, Bryce Hanner and Brit Heinonen all struck in the second.

Conner Polkky, Guilbault, Addison Hembroff and DeForge all scored in the third for Portage Lake.

The locals had a rough game Saturday morning, taking a 4-0 loss to the Lansing Spartans. Head coach Ryan DeForge did not pull any punches on how the team felt after the loss.

“Things were looking glum after a tough 4-0 loss to Lansing Saturday morning,” said Ryan DeForge.

Needing a bounce back in the afternoon, the Flyers got goals from Hanner, Cannon Mayo and Jace DeForge to earn a 3-1 win over the Troy Sting.

“The boys dug deep to beat a good Troy team and earn a spot in the finals,” said Ryan DeForge.

Getting another look at the North Stars in the finals, the teams again battled to a tie. The game finished 4-4 at the end of regulation, triggering a shootout.

The Flyers had jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the game thanks to goals from Hanner, Bianco, Hembroff and Leonard.

In the third, the North Stars scrambled back with three goals, including one on the power play with just 1:57 left in regulation, to even things.

In the shootout, Bianco and Hanner both scored for Portage Lake while only Zander Griffore struck for Traverse City.

The Flyers are sponsored by Pat’s Foods and thanks them for their support.

The Flyers are now 14-2-2 on the season.

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