2018-02-08 / Sports

Grand Blanc falls to SCF, tops Lapeer at own tourney

BY SPORTS STAFF

FLINT – The Grand Blanc varsity hockey team hosted its annual tournament at the Dort Federal Event Center on Saturday, opening with a 6-5 shootout loss to Swartz Creek/ Clio/Flushing.

Owen Walker got things going for Grand Blanc with a power-play goal with the help of Garrett Lesser. SCF responded with a power-play tally of its own and then took a 2-1 lead just a few minutes later.

Alex Zaliagiris’ goal later in the period with the help of Josh Griffel and Chase Homer allowed Grand Blanc to draw even heading into the intermission. Kevin Lahaie was able to bury a pair of goals for the Bobcats in the middle stanza, but goals were swapped with SCF to make it a 4-4 game. Lesser gave Grand Blanc the edge with a power play tally, assisted by Walker and Zaliagiris.

SCF capitalized on the power play to tie the game and eventually force overtime. Neither team was able to beat the goaltending in overtime, which led to the shootout. It took eight shooters, but SCF bested Grand Blanc by one.

That led to Grand Blanc landing in the consolation game against Lapeer, where it exploded on the scoreboard for a 10-3 win. Lesser led the way with a hat trick and a helper, while Hayden Seguin put up a goal and three assists. Walker had two goals and two assists and Homer, Kieran Howard, Zaliagiris and Jacob Strikland all netted tallies while Curtis McElroy’s three assists were key. Alex Griffel notched his first point as a varsity hockey player with an assist and Andrew Braum made 23 saves.

Last Wednesday, the Bobcats were at Canton and fought hard, but couldn’t top the Chiefs in a 4-0 loss.

“The coaching staff was pleased with the penalty killers, who were on the ice for over 17 minutes of penalties in the game, including a two-man short situation and a five-minute major,” said Grand Blanc coach John Lesser. “Through all of the penalties, Canton was only able to score a single power-play goal. Alexi Francoeur was spectacular in net, stopping 32-of-36 shots.”

Grand Blanc is at the Michigan Public High School Showcase tomorrow at Chelsea. – B.P.

ALLIANCE; The Alliance (Almont, Goodrich, Imlay City, LakeVille, North Branch) saw its first tie of the season on Saturday when it faced West Bloomfield coming to a 2-2 draw.

Both teams were held scoreless until the final six minutes of the second period when West Bloomfield scored back-to-back goals to quickly take a 2-0 lead. But with 3:57 remaining in the second, the Alliance’s Johnny Labombard quickly cut West Bloomfield’s led in half, as he rippled the mesh on a helper from Jacob Krutz.

In the third period, the Alliance evened the score with seven minutes remaining, as Jacob Young found the net on a power play, set up by Labombard, to force the overtime. It would ultimately be the final goal of the game.

“Both teams were committed to a defensive style of play,” said Alliance coach Tom Ferreri. “We were pleased that our players put 45-plus shots on net and that we converted on the power play late in the third period to tie the game.”

A strong third period comeback helped the Alliance defeat the Tri-Valley Titans 6-5 in a heated battle at the Polar Palace last Wednesday. Between the two teams, 25 penalties were drawn, with 10 from the Alliance and 15 from Tri-Valley.

The Alliance struck first at 14:44 in the opening period when Krutz scored unassisted. Tri- Valley drew even with three minutes remaining in the period. The game remained 1-1 until the final four minutes of the second period when Tri-Valley scored back-to-back goals in less than 10 seconds for a 3-1 lead. A two-score deficit wasn’t enough to keep the Alliance down, though, as Austin Stevens scored on a helper from Zak Hanaford at 1:46 on a power play. Labombard quickly followed that up with an unassisted goal just six seconds later to even the game once again at 3-3 to end the second.

In the final period, the Alliance went up 4-3 when Hunter Ratliff rippled the mesh on an assist from Hanaford during a power play at 12:15 in the third. The Titans drew even once again though less than a minute later. The Alliance finally gained the advantage they needed, though, as Jacob Young added the third power-play goal at 9:06, assisted by Kurtis Winget. Winget then set up Hanaford for an insurance goal just 30 seconds later, giving the Alliance a 6-4 lead. Tri-Valley added the final goal with 1:12 remaining.

“Max Hubbell got the win in the net and stopped a penalty shot in the last minute of the game to preserve the win,” said Ferreri. “As coaches, we were extremely pleased with the team’s ability to mount a comeback after being down 3-1 and scoring two late goals in the second to tie the game, and ultimately win the game by scoring three goals in the third.

“We found success on the power play, scoring three times on the power play at critical times in the game. This is gratifying since the team has worked hard in practice on power plays,” Ferreri concluded.

The Alliance, 10-7-1, will be at the Hartland Sports Center on Saturday against Milford. – K.R.

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