2018-03-08 / Sports

Alliance falls in regional hockey final

By Kylee Richardson
810-452-2632 • krichardson@mihomepaper.com


The Alliance’s Ryan Rychlewski moves the puck along the boards during the regional opener on February 27. 
Photo by Kylee Richardson The Alliance’s Ryan Rychlewski moves the puck along the boards during the regional opener on February 27. Photo by Kylee Richardson SAGINAW - The Alliance’s (Almont, Goodrich, Imlay City, LakeVille, North Branch) hockey season came to an end during Saturday’s regional final when the Alliance was routed 9-0 by a tough Saginaw Heritage, which is ranked No. 7 in the state.

Saginaw Heritage grabbed a 5-0 lead in the opening frame and added four goals in the second to end the game after two periods.

The Alliance secured a spot in Saturday’s regional final after defeating the United (Kearsley, Brandon, Holly, Lake Fenton) 6-0 in Thursday’s pre-regional final at the Dort Federal Event Center. The United had previously defeated Grand Blanc 4-3 in the regional opener.

The game was tied 0-0 after the opening frame, but the Alliance picked up the pace early in the second as Zak Hanaford tallied the Alliance’s first two goals, with the first coming on a power play at 15:14, assisted by Hunter Ratliff and Kurtis Winget. Hanaford’s second goal was with less than two minutes remaining in the second, helped by Ratliff and Winget again.

Hanaford completed his hat trick early in the third, giving the Alliance a 3-0 lead, set up by Johnny Labombard and Jacob Young. With 11:39 remaining, Labombard rippled the mesh on a power play, assisted by Young and Hanaford. Jacob Krutz upped the Alliance’s lead to 5-0 with 6:26 left on an unassisted goal. The final score of the game came from Young at 3:03 on a pass from Hanaford.

Last Tuesday, the Alliance defeated Swartz Creek/Clio/Flushing 7-5 in the pre-regional opener. The Alliance took a 1-0 lead early in the opening period when Jacob Young found the net on a helper from Krutz. SCF then added three unanswered goals to close out the first with a 3-1 lead.

In the second period, SCF added a fourth consecutive goal to extend its lead to 4-1, but the Alliance finally gained some traction to add four unanswered goals to close out the second. Labombard rippled the mesh on a power play, assisted by Hunter Ratliff. Winget then found the net unassisted. Hanaford closed out the second with back-to-back goals.

The Alliance then added another pair of goals in the third to complete the comeback effort, while SCF added just one. Dakota Lehman scored unassisted while Krutz added one of his own on a short-handed goal, assisted by Hanaford.

On the other end of the bracket, Saginaw Heritage defeated the Bay City Wolves 10-2 in the late pre-regional final on Thursday. The Wolves had a first-round bye while Heritage had beaten Midland 8-1 in the regional opener.

The Alliance closed the season out with a 17-10-1 overall record and finished second in the Mid-Michigan Hockey Conference with an 8-2 league record.

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