2017-12-07 / Sports

Alliance handed first loss of the season

By Sports Staff

The Alliance’s Dakota Lehman snags the puck during a game against the United on Nov. 18. 
Photo by Brandon Pope The Alliance’s Dakota Lehman snags the puck during a game against the United on Nov. 18. Photo by Brandon Pope The Alliance hockey team (Almont, Goodrich, Imlay City, LakeVille, North Branch) faced a pair of tough road games over the weekend, splitting the games and tallying its first loss of the season.

On Saturday, the Alliance bounced back from a Friday night loss and topped Hudsonville 5-3.

Hudsonville jumped out to a 1-0 lead at 13:26 in the opening period. The Alliance then evened the score at 10:25 when Matt Brauer rippled the mesh on a helper from Kurtis Winget. Hudsonville found the net just 20 seconds later, however, to take a 2-1 lead. With just 17 seconds left in the first, the Alliance evened the score once more when Jacob Young scored on a helper from Winget.

The Alliance scored the only two goals of the second, taking the lead for the first time in the game when Winget tallied his first goal of the game, assisted by Dakota Lehman at 12:47. With 5:04 remaining in the second, Young found the net for the second time for an unassisted goal to give the Alliance a 4-2 lead.

In the final period, the Alliance extended its lead to 5-2 when Winget added his second goal with 9:13 remaining. Hudsonville then cut the deficit to two with four minutes remaining for the final goal of the game.

“Every Alliance player was determined to win this game, especially in light of the loss the night before and because senior captain Zack Hanaford sustained an injury in the first period of the game and was unable to continue to play,” said Alliance coach Tom Ferreri.

Max Hubbell was between the pipes for the Alliance, stopping 44-of-47 shots. Winget led the offensive effort, tallying a pair of goals and a pair of assists, following by Young who had two goals.

“This was an impressive road win, one in which all the Alliance players played the part in,” Ferreri added. “As a group, they were 100 percent committed to give maximum effort and play within our system.”

On Friday, the Alliance was handed its first loss of the season after falling 4-3 to Grand Rapids West Catholic Central. West Catholic took a 1-0 lead in the first, scoring the only goal of the opening period.

In the second, West Catholic tallied three goals before the Alliance finally got on the board with a goal from Winget to give West Catholic a 4-1 lead.

The Alliance then tried to orchestrate a third-period comeback, but fell just short. Jacob Young rippled the mesh at 9:37 in the third to take the score to 4-2. Dakota Lehman then added the Alliance’s third and final goal of the game with an assist from Johnny Labombard with 5:38 remaining. The Alliance were then unable to get any more offensive effort rolling in the final minutes as the comeback effort fell just short.

“It was a well-played game by both teams,” said Ferreri. “Our team refused to give in and they came out in the third period and mounted a comeback to bring the game back to a one-goal game. With our goalie pulled, we had several quality scoring chances, but just couldn’t score the tying goal.

“After winning our first five games, it was a disappointing loss for the Alliance. All in all, it was a solid effort in light of the fact that it was a one-goal loss, on the road and we were able to mount a comeback,” Ferreri concluded.

Last Wednesday, the Alliance took down the reigning Mid-Michigan Hockey Conference league champs, defeating the Tri-Valley Titans 8-5.

In the opening period, the Alliance took a 1-0 lead on an unassisted goal from Hanaford with 6:01 remaining. It was the only goal of the first. The Alliance then ripped the game wide open in the second, tallying its first of four goals in the second when Labombard found the net on a helper from Austin Stevens. Tri-Valley answered back to finally get on the board at 10:43. Hanaford then rippled the mesh for his second goal of the night with 8:45 remaining assisted by Brauer. Tri-Valley then scored back-to-back goals, both within 40 seconds to tie the game at 3-3. Shortly after, the Alliance took its turn with back-to-back goals to go up by two, one coming from Thomas Manko and the other from Winget. With 3:01 remaining, Tri-Valley cut the deficit to one to end the scoring in the second for a 5-4 Alliance lead.

The final period remained scoreless for the majority of the period until Tri-Valley evened the score at 5-5 with 3:26 remaining, but it wasn’t enough to hold off the Alliance, as it would go on to add three goals within three minutes to seal the win. Hanaford completed his hat trick with 2:42 left, assisted by Stevens. With 1:01 left, Lehman upped the score to 7-5, assisted by Winget. Hanaford then added his fourth and final goal of the game with 17 seconds remaining for the 8-5 final.

Alliance goalie Hubbell came into the game for an injured Will Garbutt, stopping 30-of-35 shots to record the win. Hanaford finished the night with four goals, two unassisted, and an assist.

“Our opponents played extremely well and refused to give in,” said Ferreri. “This was a satisfying result since it was a team win in so much as every Alliance player was committed to our game plan and played within our system.”

The Alliance, 4-1, traveled to the Dort Federal Event Center on Wednesday to face Davison following press deadlines and will travel to Saginaw Bay Ice Arena on Saturday to play the FNV Griffins. – K.R.

GRAND BLANC: The Bobcats’ trip to Howell last Thursday wasn’t quite what they expected. Grand Blanc was only able to register six shots on goal in a 9-0 loss. The Bobcats only trailed 3-0 at the conclusion of the first period, but Howell’s six goals in the middle frame put the game out of reach. – B.P.

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