Lyon Hockey

Chemicals fight hard, but No. 1 powers dominate second period

For most of Wednesday’s two periods, the Midland High hockey team faced top seeded Flint Powers. In the second period, however, the Chargers showed why they’re ranked No. 1 in the state in Division 3.

After a hard-fought, scoreless first half, Powers scored four times in the second and went on to beat host Chemics 6-0 and clinch a share of the Saginaw Valley League Championship.

Despite the lopsided scoreline, Midland manager Steve Witt was optimistic and even encouraged not only about how his Chemics have been playing, but also about the rest of the season.

“After a (period), we said to them, ‘You have shown what we can do. You have shown that we can play. It was the Midland Chemic hockey we’ve been waiting for,” Witt noted. “In the second half, and this is something that continues, we make some glaring mistakes and they take advantage of it. And that’s what the No. 1 teams do. That’s what good hockey teams do.

“And we will get there. We will be a team that will capitalize on mistakes,” he added. “…I just told them how proud I was of the effort, of the attitude. It just didn’t feel like a 6-0 game. It is what it is, but we are in a better position at 9:30 tonight than at 7:15 tonight. I was proud of them. »

Neither team was able to generate many quality chances in the opening period, although the Chemics had a glorious chance. Ryder Zastrow recovered the puck from a turnover, skated past a few defenders in the power zone, kicked another defender and patiently waited until he was at close range to shoot. Unfortunately for Midland, Zastrow’s backhand wrist sounded low off the crossbar and outside.

Eventually, the teams entered the first intermission scoreless and with only five shots on goal combined between them.

“I thought (MHS goalkeeper) Aiden (O’Malley) made some good saves early on, I thought our defense played well and I thought our forwards were making plays. We were moving our feet,” Witt said. “And it’s one of those games where, who knows? Who knows what will happen if we bury the first? They (Powers) called a timeout in that first period. They were a bit frustrated. »

In the second period, however, the Chargers had no such frustrations.

At 3:49 of the period, after O’Malley made four solid saves on a Powers power play, Brendan Sly centered the puck on Cooper Gerhardt, who passed O’Malley from the slot for a goal with equal force. and a 1-0 lead.

Then, at 8:03, after O’Malley made a save on a long shot from Nolan Salayko, Brenden Tarpening returned the rebound into an open net from close range to make it 2-0. Just 28 seconds later, the Chargers struck again. This time Tarpening received a long pass out from Michael Tucker, skated to the Midland goal unscathed and scored to extend to a 3-0 margin.

Midland then called a timeout and, after the brief break, the Chemics generated a handful of quality scoring chances, only to find themselves empty. Then, after Powers fired a few shots out of the pipes, the Chargers made it 4-0 at 1:06 when Nolan Berner scored another goal from close range.

The third period was played fairly evenly, but Powers scored two shorthanded goals – one in the first minute by Mason Czarnecki and the other at 15:21 by Tarpening – for the final margin.

Witt said his chemicals “are going to build on that.”

“There’s no doubt these guys are going to build on that. There were a lot more positives tonight than negatives, and tomorrow is a new day,” he said. “…It may be a cliché, but I’d rather learn and deal with adversity in February than be streaky and on a roll in December and January.

“We learned tonight. I think we improved in some areas tonight,” he added.

Powers (19-4-1 overall, 5-0-1 in the valley) finished with a 21-13 advantage in shots on goal and a 28-18 advantage in scoring chances. Chargers goaltender Nick Kurtiak made 13 saves to earn the shutout, while O’Malley made 15 saves in the loss.

Midland (14-9-0, 2-4-0) travel to Brighton to face Lyon South on Friday at 5pm

“The key is how we get back to training tomorrow and then on Friday against a very good team from the south of Lyon,” Witt said. “… We have two more (regular season) games to play, and we have to be better. My God, I’m pretty excited about the upcoming playoffs.