Plymouth scored two goals in eight seconds early in the third period and went on to beat Saline, 5-4, in varsity boys hockey action at the Arctic Edge Arena Saturday afternoon.
The Hornets spent the first half of the game playing catch up after Plymouth scored two goals in the opening six minutes. The Hornets took over in the second period and tied the game. But four minutes into the third period, the Wildcats scored goals eight seconds apart, sending the Hornets back into catch-up mode.
The Hornets got to within one goal, late in the game, and had a chance to tie the game with a late power play, but Plymouth prevailed.
Saline coach Paul Fassbender saw positives and negatives in the loss. For starters, there was the start. For the third straight game, Saline got off to a slow start. In the previous two games, the Hornets were able to bounce back. Seven minor penalties, many of which were assessed in the offensive zone, didn't help the Hornets' cause - even though Saline gave up just one power play goal.
But what Fassbender did like was the way his team dug in an kept battling.
"We didn't give up. We got behind a few times, and we just kept battling back. It was a good effort against a very good hockey team," Fassbender said.
It took just 17 seconds for Plymouth to score. Nathan Stoneburg (2 goals, one assist) opened the scoring. Five minutes later, with Yanic Sadek in the box for slashing, Jack VanDenBeurgeury scored during a goalmouth scramble.
It was a tough start for sophomore goalie Blake Stephenson, but he battled back and kept the Hornets close. Saline began to tilt the ice toward the Plymouth net later in the first. The Hornets owned the second period. In the opening minute, Brendan Murphy passed to Logan Dejanovich on the left wing. He centered to Gordie Niethammer in full flight just after crossing the blue line. Niethammer made a nifty move and scored on the backhand. Saline continued to apply pressure. Nick Miller took a pass from Griffin Clark and beat the Plymouth goalie wth a wrist shot from the left circle. The game was tied at two.
The Hornets were buzzing but couldn't get the goal to put them in front.
Saline started with momentum - but it quickly vanished. At the 3:53 mark Brendan Allen scored to give Plymouth the lead, 3-2. Eight seconds later, after Plymouth won the faceoff, Stoneburg skated up the right wing and wired a hard wristshot past Stephenson. Plymouth led 4-2.
Mason Ausmus took matters into his own hands 28 seconds later, using his long stride and speed to weave through the defense before backhanding a shot past the goalie.
But Plymouth responded less than a minute later with a goal by VanDenBeurgeury.
Down 5-3, things looked dire for Saline when Connor Wright was penalized for interference. But Mikhail Lozovyy gave Saline life with a shorthanded goal on a wristshot from the faceoff ciricle.