The Kalamazoo Eagles High School Varsity Hockey team defeated the Portage Central Mustangs in a 5-4 overtime thriller at Wings West Arena Wednesday night, 12/13/2017.
The Eagles got on the board first at 2:27 into the first period. Jimmy Wressel took a pass from Michael Winter, skated right to left in front of the PC net and slipped a back hand shot past the goalie for the first tally of the night. Portage Central controlled the puck for most of the remainder of the first period. However, the Eagles defense was able to handle the pressure, successfully killing off one 2-minute minor penalty and preventing any scores. At 15:03 of the period, Wressel grabbed a cleared puck from the Eagles defensive zone and skated up the ice on a 2 on 2 break. His shot bounced off the pads of PC’s goalie and Carter Maxey buried the rebound to give the Eagles a 2-0 lead. The period ended with the score sheet showing 2 goals scored and 1 penalty assessed. This would not be a pattern for the rest of the game.
The Mustangs opened the second period on the power play but were unable to convert. A physical period ensued. Six minor penalties were called, three per team, with neither team scoring on the man advantage. Finally, with the teams skating 4 on 4 at 7:53 of the period, PC’s Canyon Morse was able to score on a one timer with assists from defensemen Dominik Zimmer and Justin Hayward. The period ended with Mustangs trailing the Eagles 2-1.
Midway through the third, Eagles defenseman Danny Keene took advantage of a Mustang line change. Taking a pass from Alex Dorrance, Keene skated up ice and snuck a shot past the PC goalie giving the Eagles a 3-1 lead at 5:27 of the third. The Mustangs applied heavy pressure in the Eagles zone on their comeback attempt. A scrap broke out in front of the Eagles goal at 6:02 of the period. The resulting penalties were split evenly, with each team earning: one 2-minute minor, one 5-minute major, one 10 minute misconduct, and one 10 minute game disqualification. Play resumed with an even strength 5 on 5 situation. The Mustangs continued to apply pressure but the Eagles were up to task not allowing any goals through the middle of the period. Then things got interesting.
The Eagles were accessed a 5-minute major penalty for kneeing at 11:02 of the period. PC’s Konner Mcleod netted a power play goal at 13:37 of the period, with assists from Morse and Will Anderson, putting the Mustangs within a goal, 3-2. With the continuing power play, the Mustangs pulled their goalie to give a 6 on 4 skater advantage. The Eagles Maxey was able to clear the zone with a shot into the empty Mustangs net, scoring a shorthanded goal and giving the eagles a 4-2 cushion at 15:33 of the period. Morse was able to score for PC on the continuing power play, with assists from McLeod and Hunter Maschke, cutting the deficit to 4-3 at 15:56. One minute and four seconds remained in the seventeen minute period.
The Mustang power play ended at 16:02 of the period. While facing intense PC pressure, the Eagles iced the puck. With the face off deep in the Eagles zone, the Mustangs again pulled their goalie for a 6 on 5 skater advantage. With a scrum in front of the Eagle net, McLeod was able to find the loose puck and push it in, with assists credited to Maschke and Skyler Sorenson at the 16:33 mark. The third period ended tied 4-4, leading to a sudden death 8-minute overtime.
The Eagles started the overtime session applying pressure on the Mustangs. With the man advantage, Michael Winter of the Eagles threaded a pass to Carter Maxey in front of the PC net. Maxey scored the power play goal, earned a hat trick, and gave the Eagles an exciting 5-4 victory. Despite being outshot 42-26, the Eagles earned their first league win.
The Eagles are now 1-3 in the SMHSHL league play. The Mustangs fall to 0-3 in the league.