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Prep Hockey: Hancock falls to Trojans 7-2, honor longtime supporter Givens

Hancock's Colton Salani left, tries to score on Traverse City Central goalie Grant Neuhardt (30) on Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019, in Hancock, Mich. (Adam Niemi/The Daily Mining Gazette)

HANCOCK — Sometimes sports is put in perspective by bigger things in life.

Saturday was one of those days.

Traverse City Central scored early and often in a 7-2 win over Hancock on Saturday. But the game was overshadowed by a pregame ceremony honoring Barry Givens, a longtime Hancock hockey supporter undergoing cancer treatments. His fight with cancer had him in the hospital Saturday, unable to attend the ceremonial puck drop and game.

Givens’ brother Chris, longtime head coach of Traverse City Central, left Houghton County Arena with the win, but said the game felt like a footnote the day after visiting him in the hospital.

“I went to the hospital (Friday) and visited with him for a few minutes. It gives hockey a different perspective,” Chris said. “You certainly want to come up here and you want to win, but when you’re sitting in the hospital room and he’s talking about the kinds of days he has, it kind of puts it all in perspective. It doesn’t quite make the game so important. A little dose of perspective is good for everybody from time to time. I certainly got mine yesterday.”

Cameron Murray, center, drops the puck before Hancock's Colton Salani, right, and Traverse City Central's Drew Swanson, left, on Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019, in Hancock, Mich. Murray dropped the puck as part of Hancock High School's day honoring his step-father Barry Givens, a longtime supporter of Hancock hockey fighting cancer. (Adam Niemi/The Daily Mining Gazette)

After the game, both teams posed on the ice next to the boards with a crowd in the stands holding up signs reading “Bulldog Strong for Barry.”

Chris Givens and Hancock head coach Dan Rouleau later spoke during a postgame meal at Houghton County Arena about Barry’s commitments to local hockey and the impact he’s had on the community.

Hancock wore special white jerseys with the Bulldogs logo on the front with the name and number on the back for the occasion. Rouleau said the jerseys would be auctioned off after the game with proceeds going to Barry.

A silent auction was held during the game, including items like a Finlandia University men’s hockey jersey signed by the team, various USA Hockey jerseys and sweaters, a coffee table made of hockey stick shafts, and a signed picture of San Jose Sharks players Evander Kane and Brent Burns. The 50/50 proceeds went to Barry, including the winner’s share of about $450.

“It’s another example of the hockey community coming together,” Chris Givens said. “We’re on different teams as far as the rosters and things like that. Really, we’re all on the same team in terms of that. When people are in need, this has proven itself out over many, many, many years. When someone’s in need, the first people I call on is the hockey community. It’s another great example today of people stepping up when they’re needed.”

The Hancock High School and Traverse City Central hockey teams pose with the crowd holding "Bulldog Strong for Barry" signs on Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019, in Hancock, Mich. (Adam Niemi/The Daily Mining Gazette)

Rouleau said supporting Barry has been an important emphasis for the team. The front of the program said the Bulldogs are dedicating the entire season to him.

“Barry’s a great supporter of Hancock hockey — he has been for years,” Rouleau said. “He’s been very generous with his money, very generous with his time. It’s just so hard to see him with what he’s going through right now. It’s tough. It’s tough on his family, it’s tough on the Bulldog family. Having a guy that’s such a great supporter not feeling good. We wish we could’ve got the W for him, at least his brother’s team won.”

TC scored four goals in the first period. Hancock gave up a multitude of scoring chances around the front of the net, of which Traverse City took advantage.

Chris Uslondek scored a goal and two assists for the Trojans. Will Dawson scored twice.

Hancock scored a goal each in the second and third periods, both by Austin Salani.

Hancock High School and Traverse City Central players scramble for the puck on Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019, in Hancock, Mich. (Adam Niemi/The Daily Mining Gazette)

His first goal came 36 seconds into the second period on the power-play. Colton Salani and Chad Nordstrom assisted.

Austin Salani scored again nine and a half minutes into the third, with assists from Nordstrom and Bradley Randell.

The Trojans added two goals in the second and one in the third.

“Another tough one. Obviously giving up too many goals,” Rouleau said. “We’ve got to cut down our goals-against. With that comes good defensive coverage. I thought for the second game in a row, our defensive coverage wasn’t that good.

“There are times we look like a pretty good hockey team. I always want to reiterate it isn’t always our goalie when these games get up to seven or eight (goals against). It’s the players around him. If there’s a shot and the goalie makes a great save and there’s a rebound sitting there, easy tap-in goal which should never happen. These guys have been playing hockey a long time. Especially at this point in the year, they should be a little better around the net and that’s what we’ve got to work on.”

Traverse City Central's Ethan VanderRoest (10) celebrates his goal against Hancock on Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019, in Hancock, Mich. (Adam Niemi/The Daily Mining Gazette)

The game got physical and lasted throughout. Hancock racked up 10 penalties for 23 minutes. The Trojans had eight penalties for 16 minutes.

TC was 2 of 7 on the power play, while Hancock was 1 of 6.

“We’re quite honestly not very good when the game goes that way,” Givens said of the game’s physicality. “We took too many penalties today, too many bad penalties. We just need to stick to a real simple game and not trying to do too much. There are some situations we didn’t handle very well. We’ll get those worked out.”

TC Central 4 2 1 — 7

Hancock 0 1 1 — 2

First Period–1, TCC, W. Dawson, 1:24. 2, TCC, Sommerfield (Uslondek), 8:24. 3, TCC, VanderRoest (Douglass, O. Dawson), 15:35 (pp). 4, TCC, Uslondek (Sommerfield), 16:43 (pp). Penalties–HAN, Stuber (hooking), 4:17. TCC, Peters (tripping), 10:40. HAN, Maki (roughing), 13:57. HAN, Bastian (boarding major), 15:16. TCC, W. Dawson (slashing), 16:22. TCC, VanderRoest (hooking), 16:59.

Second Period–5, HAN, A. Salani (C. Salani, Nordstrom), 0:36 (pp). 6, W. Dawson (Lucas, Douglass), 4:41. 7, TCC, Swanson (Lucas), 10:29. Penalties–TCC, VanderRoest (roughing), 1:36. TCC, Dawson (hooking), 12:26. HAN, Randell (roughing), 13:09. TCC, Adams (roughing), 13:09.

Third Period–8, TCC, Folgmann (Uslondek, VanderRoest), 3:41. 9, HAN, A. Salani (Nordstrom, Randell), 9:48. Penalties–HAN, Randell (cross-checking), 3:26. HAN, Sintkowski (roughing), 8:26. HAN, A. Salani (unsportsmanlike), 13:50. TCC, Cooper (interference), 14:02. HAN, Nordstrom (roughing), 16:14. TCC, Swanson (roughing), 16:14. HAN, Lorenzetti (roughing), 16:48. HAN, Lorenzetti (unsportsmanlike), 16:48.

Shots on Goal–TCC 11-11-7–29. HAN 7-10-9–26.

Power-play Opportunities–TCC 2 of 7. HAN 1 of 6.

Goalies–TCC, Neuhardt 7-9-8–24 saves. HAN B. Pietila 7-9-6–22.

Penalties-minutes–TCC 8-16; HAN 10-23.

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